For the first time in four years, mass was celebrated at the Burial Ridge Cemetry. A large crowd attended the mass, last Monday night on the Burial Ridge or Bern Ridge as it was called by locals years ago. Over the past four weeks, 120 bags of rubbish have been collected and taken away from the site by the council.
A group of volunteers have been working to clear the overgrown cemetery of brambles and weeds. The cemetry was heavily littered with cans and bottles and a fire was started on the car road side of the cemetry one Sunday morning.
The volunteers worked up to 10.30pm some nights in preperation for the mass.
The cemetery closed in 1987, after the new St Peters and Pauls cemetery had opened on the Stradbally Road in 1980.
Three years ago, Noel Hume and Skipper Deegan began recording the graves. Fifty names were printed in an article in The Laois Heritage Society Journal Work will commence shortly by Noel and the volunteers on the completion of the recording.
Last Monday, before the mass, a group of 20 u14’s from the GAA club spent their morning litter picking, raking and sweeping graves. The boys also cleaned and painted the wooden cross on top of the Burial Ridge.
“It was a pleasure to see these boys working voluntarily on the Ridge and they were so happy that they volunteered to come back again. They are future volunteers for community work around Portlaoise,” said Kathleen O’Brien, Chairperson of the committee.
Kathleen thanked Fr Paddy Byrne for a lovely mass and Tony Browne for orgainsing the volunteers.
She also thanked Dimitri and Danny, the two Tús workers with Portlaoise Tidy Towns and Laois Leader, Laois Hire for sponsoring the strimmers and tools, Declan Smith for the PA system and Portlaoise Order of Malta.