The Mound

A gem on how local people solve local problems when authorities fail them

Adrian Tinniswood

icarus Icarus

Like so many of the burial grounds in Erris, the graveyard at Doohoma looks out to sea. The square two-acre plot lies on a quiet hillside a mile out of the village, close to the strand, walled and gated and neatly kept. Tarmac paths encircle the perimeter. There are stone benches provided by local firms of stone masons as comfort and advertisement – ‘donated by Nephin Headstones’, ‘donated by Connolly Memorials’ – and a little shrine to Our Lady, who stands aloof and flanked by two painted angels. At some point one of the angels has lost his wings. They lie, perfectly intact, at the Virgin’s feet while their flightless owner stands with eyes downcast, a repentant Icarus, a player in a failed Annunciation.

The people of Doohoma fought hard and long for their own graveyard. For centuries the nearest cemetery was at Kiltane, ten miles away. Often enough…

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