Yesterday I had to abandon my visit to Maynooth because of heavy rain that began almost as soon as I had arrived. When I got up today the weather was really good so I decided to give Maynooth one more try and when I arrived at 2pm the weather was warm and sunny so I took the opportunity to visit the University Campus.

It may surprise many visitors to discover that Maynooth College has its own graveyard. The cemetery can be found past the Junior Garden on campus.

While the College was founded in 1795, the first to be buried in the new College Cemetery was Rev Francis Power from Cork (1737 – 1817), who was the first Bursar and Vice President, was appointed Professor of French in 1802, and died in 1817. Four members of the College staff, who died before 1817, were buried in Laraghbryan Cemetery on the Kilcock Road, west of the Campus.

There are a number of students, Sisters and staff resting in the College Cemetery. Many of the students died of consumption, as tuberculosis was called at the time. The Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul provided the healthcare for students and staff. The most recent burial was that of Maurice Dunne from Tralee (1939 – 2009). He had worked in the College since 1961 and died on his 70th birthday. [Note: I noticed two new graves today 17 May 2021].

Years ago I came across the following story: “If you visit Maynooth today, you might come across an old building on the campus called Rhetoric House. You might notice that one of the windows on the top floor is boarded-up and you might wonder why. If you ask someone, they will tell you this is The Ghost Room. Many years ago, students who went to Maynooth would live on the top floor of the building. There was one young man who was assigned to sleep in Room No.2. One day, when he didn’t show up for lectures, his friends went looking for him. They found his dead body lying in a pool of blood on the floor of Room No.2 with his throat slit from ear to ear. Clutched in his hand was a bloody razor and it appeared that he had taken his own life. Ireland was a Catholic country and, at the time, suicide was seen as a terrible sin."

"The matter was hushed up by the college and the student was buried in an unconsecrated part of the college cemetery, away from the other graves.”

As you may have guessed, according to local legend, this story was repeated the next year [note: according to the records the deaths were nineteen years apart]. Some locals claim, that three people died in a similar manner while in the same room but while the official records indicate that the two students are buried in within the walls of the graveyard there is no mention of a third student.

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