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Hidden Ireland

What's being done about historic gravestones at the 'Cabbage Gardens' being vandalised?

The burial site is located in a park, but even CCTV hasn’t deterred people from vandalising them.

photo 1 Aoife Barry / Aoife Barry / /

HISTORIC GRAVESTONES AT a Dublin graveyard have been vandalised – and the council is working on how to stop more of them being damaged.

The area is called the Cabbage Gardens, and according to Maurice Curtis in The Liberties: A History, the land was given to the parish of St Nicholas Without in 1666, by the Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral.

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It was intended to be a new cemetery, and part of it was later used as a Huguenot burial ground.

You can access the graveyard and the park in which it is located by heading to St Patrick’s Close, which it is opposite it, and going down Cathedral Lane.

Here’s what you’ll see if you visit the site today:

The graveyard continued to be used until 1858. The Cabbage Gardens are one of 91 historic graveyards which Dublin City Council maintains and conserves.

It is said that the area is called the Cabbage Gardens as it is where Cromwell had cabbages planted for his troops in 1649. He stayed in the area, near where the Lord Edward pub is now.

Prior to this time, cabbages were not grown in Ireland.

  • Read more about the history of the graveyard at this link>

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Important burials

Curtis says that a number of the city’s most important Huguenots were buried in the Cabbage Gardens graveyard – including David Digues des Rombières La Touche, who set up La Touche Bank with Nathaniel Kane in 1722. The bank was the precursor to today’s Bank of Ireland.

In 1681, the Huguenots leased a strip of land in the Cabbage Gardens to use for burials. It was consecrated in 1685.

The layout of the burial plots was recorded by Dublin Corporation in 1938. The oldest burial stone dates from 1703, for a Mr John Paine.

The park was opened in 1982 and many of the gravestones are still located there. However, they have been moved from their original sites and in many places set up against the wall. Some of have been broken.

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What is Dublin City Council doing about the vandalism?

When asked about the site by, Dublin City Council said it “is aware of a vandalism problem at the Cabbage Gardens”.

This has resulted in damage and in some instances destruction of to the historic gravestones in the Cabbage Gardens, which currently has 161 gravestones.

The council described the problem as “intermittent”, and said it has taken several measures to address it.

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These include:

  • A number of cleaning operations
  • The installation of CCTV camera in the park
  • Signage explaining the historic significance of the seventeenth century graveyard.

Dublin City Council’s Parks and Landscape Services Division and Archaeology Section have worked closely together on trying to solve the problem.

The council said that it believes that further measures may be required to protect the gravestones in the long term.

Plans for the future

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Dublin City Council plans on talking to experts and making recommendations in the coming months on how best to protect the gravestones.

It said: “Any recommendations that are implemented will seek to engage the local community and other state agencies which may have a role to play.”

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Here are some of the options the council says are available:

  • Burying the gravestones on site under archaeological supervision – while this would preserve the gravestones, it would not be Dublin City Council’s preferred option
  • Move them to another location – moving them to nearby St. Kevin’s Church is an option. This has been done with other gravestones
  • New landscape design – a landscape redesign which would increase the use of the park and incorporate a repositioning of the gravestones and secure fencing
  • Local awareness – the council’s new signage at the Cabbage Gardens is an example of this. Other options would include mobilising local schools and community groups

All photos Aoife Barry/

Read: Hidden adventures and explorations of Dublin>

Read: 7 little things in Dublin you’ve always wondered about>

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