School: Naomh Bríghid, Blackwater (roll number 7036)

Blackwater, Co. Wexford
Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin

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Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0886, Page 137

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The body snatchers must have been very busy in this district in the old days. I hear stories of them in every part of the parish.

John Belvin says they had a gear to open the end of the coffin and pull the body out. His father working at Bolgers' of Ballyvaldon mounted guard for nine consecutive nights, gun in hand, over the buried corpse of his former employer.
Mr Belvin speaks of a remarkable funeral which incidentally brings in how the people suffered in those days from these ghouls.
There was a man in the locality (where Denis Dempsey of Ballintubbert now lives, whose name was John Leary. On the day of his father's funeral there was an objection raised by some relatives about the opening of a grave for the corpse in the local cemetery in Ballyvaldon.
Leary collected his friends, twelve in all got a "spring car" and set out for Donaghmore sixteen miles off. The men handled the coffin in relays of four and these when tired sat on the "side laces" of the car. Mr Behan says the coffin was laid on forms outside Laffins' of Kilmuckridge while all hands consumed a half-gallon of whiskey.
Now the sequel. Mr Belvin declares emphatically that the above John Leary went to Donaghmore

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John Belvin