An Irish Story
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.
That being said, the pictures you see here mean little if you don't know the story that goes with them.
These photographs are from the cemetery and church at Aghalurcher. The Medieval Church ruins stand on an the ruins of an even older site associated with St Ronan in the 7th century and was the "home parish" of many of the Maguire clan from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. All sorts of folks are buried here, including some of the Maguire chieftans from the Irish Middle Ages and at least one Maguire Bishop. There are some very, very old gravestones here, along with the church, and some stone work on the gatepost, including a crucifixion scene.
The curse came about because of a couple (or more) of murders that took place there. It seems that a man named Gilla Patrick Maguire was murdered at the high altar of the church in 1484 by his five brothers. And then one of those brothers, Don (who may have been the "point man" so to speak) was murdered in the church's doorway by his uncle and some cousins on the other side of the family in 1486. Don and Gilla-Patrick's grandfather Thomas was one of the Lords (i.e., kings) of Fermanagh, and his brother Donaugh-Dunchadha was maimed at the cemetery/church as well. (A section of the family tree is here.) There was a senior branch and a junior branch, and historians can't seem to decide if the Maguires were a great at keeping the peace or a family prone to slaughtering one another. In the ancient annals of Ireland, there was a fair amount of internecine warfare between and among families or clans.
Well, that's a sad story, isn't it? I'm wondering if these were my ancestors. We all have these stories in our past that we don't want to own.... and yet we are freed when we do own them. Who knows what the story truly was about these folks who fought with swords on the church grounds and even at the altar? Who knows what their treachery was founded upon? And whether or not they are my direct ancestors, truly and sadly this is the history of humankind. It's rather like the story of Cain and Abel.