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Sunday 1 October 2023 Dublin: 17°C
# Double Take
Double Take: The 'smallest cemetery in Ireland' that's in one of Dublin's most popular spots
A monumental person is buried there.

CC1 David Keane / Instagram David Keane / Instagram / Instagram

WHILE TRINITY COLLEGE Dublin is famous around the world for many things, the fact that the smallest cemetery in Ireland is on its grounds is less well known.

Tucked away on an outer corner of Trinity College Chapel, across from the dining hall, is the burial place of the first provost and one of the of the founding fellows of the college, Dr Luke Chaloner.

Lyn Gateley Lyn Gateley

Chaloner is said to have been “a major driving force behind the establishment of Trinity College Dublin” and was the “chief negotiator concerning the grant of lands and other assistance from Queen Elizabeth to the support of the college,” according to the official Trinity tour.

TCD Google Maps Google Maps

Following his death, Chaloner was buried in the old college chapel on 27 April 1613. Beside the staircase to its gallery, an inscription read (translated from Latin): “Under this staircase lies Chaloner’s sad carcase, by whose prayers and intreaties this house now so great is,” reports Medium.

An alabaster effigy of Chaloner was later installed, with artist Thomas Dingeley describing it as: “The high relief figure of Challoner, in robes, ruff and cap or low-crowned hat, rests on the tomb, his hands joined in prayer. He is attended by two angels. His epitaph is inscribed on the side panel. The monument is surrounded by a railing.”

1_QpajoZLWWyVgNWyAjP81HA A sketch of the original monument by Thomas Dingeley in 1680.

However, after the old chapel was demolished in 1798 to make way for the current building, the memorial was exposed to the elements of the outdoors and its features dissolved in the rain over the years.

Nowadays, the small cemetery is surrounded by railings, with little left to inform the unknowing passerby of its history. 

More Double Take: The easy-to-miss ‘pavement lights’ that once had a very important function

More Double Take: The fairy bush in Co Clare that moved a motorway

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