Leinster Leader, 10 May 1952
Priest of the Penal Period
Kildare Move to Renovate Tombstones
A committee has been formed at Nurney, Kildare, for the purpose of renovating the tombstones of Priests of the Penal period at Harristown cemetery. Harristown is a very old and historic cemetery, and it is hoped by this means to keep alive the memory of these patriotic priests.
The tombstones that need renovating are as follows:- Very Rev, Bryan Dempesy, the inscription on whose stone reads:- ‘Here lyeth the body of Rev. Bryan Dempesy, Doctor of Divinity and Vicar General of Kildare, who was Parish Priest of Rosenallis for ten years, and for thirty in Monasterevan. Departed this life 8th December, 1754. Aged 76 years.’
Another old stone is inscribed:- ‘This stone was erected by James Byrne, of Skirks, in memory of his father and mother, and the Rev. John Byrne, his brother.’ (Date not discernible) nor is the address ‘Skirks,’ very clear.
Another stone is inscribed:- ‘Erected by Thomas Hickey, in memory of his brother, Rev. Charles Hickey, who departed this life, 20th November, 1819. Aged 28 years.’
There may be other tombs of priests not yet found and a search is still being made.
There is a small cross over the grave of the Rev. Edward Prendergast, who was executed at Monasterevan, 11th June, 1798, but the original tombstone is broken and should be preserved.
To raise funds for this purpose a raffle will be held in Nurney. First prize, £10; second prize, £3; third prize, £2.
There will also be a football tournament for this deserving purpose.
The following committee are appointed under the patronage of the Very Rev. Father Gorry, P.P., Monasterevan and Rev. Father Mooney, C.C., Nurney:- Mr. Frank Prendergast, Harristown, Nurney (Chairman); Mr. John O’Brien, Nurney (Hon. Treasurer); Mr. Paul O’Beirne, Nurney; Mr. John Byrne, Skeig, Nurney; Mr. Peter Hanlon, Gurteen, Nurney; Mr. O’Connor, N.T., Nurney; Mr. James Bergin, Cherrymills, Nurney; Mr. Patrick McCormack, Kildare (Hon. Secretary).