ST MICHAEL’S cemetery in Athy once was in quite a state – but thanks to the work of a dedicated group of locals, it is now almost completely renovated.
There are six people involved in cleaning up the’old’ cemetery: Eddie Lawler (chairman of the group); Michael Donovan; Ger Kelly; Brendan Moloney; Mary Sullivan and James Mahon. The group are to hold a flag day this Thursday and Friday 14 and 15 September in the town, and it’s a great opportunity for locals to support their work and give some funds towards the completion of the five-year project.
“At the moment we are four years into a five-year project,” Eddie explained.
“We’re a sub-committee of Athy Town Council and we were set up four years ago to look at St Michael’s Cemetery. We’ve an awful lot of work done there.”
They have worked for around six hours every Saturday on average –and many other days besides – in tackling the overgrown, dirty and rundown parts of the cemetery, clearing ivy off headstones, taking dirt and rubbish out of areas, cutting hedges and making everything look tidy and clean.
The town council gives the group a certain amount of money every year, but as the council’s budget is quite tight at the moment, all funds are welcome. The flag day is a way of getting essential funds for their work. All of the people working on the cemetery are volunteers and along the way they have drafted other volunteers in to help them.
“I approached the council back in 2008 with a view to do doing something about it’,” said Eddie of the cemetery. “The rest has been hard work.”
The flag day will involve people collecting in various locations in the town on 13 and 14 September, and Eddie said: “I appeal to the people of Athy to be as generous as they possibly can.”
In the next six weeks, a clean-up day and a painting day are to be announced for the cemetery. Eddie said he would like to thank all the people who have helped over the years, his fellow members of the clean-up committee, and all those who have supported them in any way.