Posted by: irishdad | October 1, 2009

A stone of the heart

On Monday of this week, as I settled into my new found free time, Irishmam and I had to choose between going to Ikea for the afternoon or taking our first foray into shopping for headstones.

This time around blue and yellow won out over the grey and black.

We plan to get things organised before Littlegirl’s birthday/anniversary at the start of December, and we need to get moving soon as I think there can be a fair lead time for getting the stone work done.

All of the graves around our Littlegirl’s are steadily being decorated (is that the word?)  so we don’t want to be last or “Graveyard Gwen” – the cemetary gossip queen – will be telling all kinds of things to the neighbours!

Interesting, I recently saw a documentary about the area of Dublin where I happen to work. It’s an old part of the city that hasn’t been impacted much by the recent years of boom and gentrification.  (Let’s face it, if you haven’t been gentrified by now you’re in the clear for the next decade or so in this town!) The movie explores the nature of the community and some of the more interesting characters you might meet on the streets and in the shops. If you’ve ever been to Dublin and visited the Guinness brewery then I guess you’ve passed through The Liberties.

Anyway, almost opposite my place of work is a stonemason’s yard that I’d never noticed before. The stonemason featured in the documentary and had worked in the yard his whole life. As he chipped away at a gravestone he spoke about the intricacies of the work, and how traditional ways were falling to modern trends of faxing orders to asia where the work can be done cheaper and shipped back here for finishing.

Watch the movie clip.

Brendan Crowe's yard, Liberties, Dublin. (Areaman Productions)

Brendan Crowe's yard, Liberties, Dublin. (Areaman Productions)

Since the film was released Brendan’s yard has gone on sale. This is a pity as it would be nice to be able to visit the yard and see what he could do for our Littlegirl. Having seen the movie I know he cares about his work, however,  it’s not to be and he seemed to be looking forward to retirement so I hope he is getting a well deserved rest and enjoying his time.



  1. What beautiful craftsmanship. And such a shame you couldn’t make use of his skills to create something for Littlegirl’s final resting place.
    We really rushed shopping for a plaque for Hope’s grave. It was such a whirlwind time, those first weeks after her death and birth (as you’ll well know). I think we should have taken a trip to the land of blue and yellow as well and given ourselves some more time to think on it. Still, I can’t question any of those decisions we made early on. They were all made on gut and feel. Pure instinct. The shock gave us a buffer and allowed us the opportunity to say “yep, like that” or “nope, don’t like that”. Because really, shopping for a headstone for your child is about as wrong as it gets. I think if I were designing her grave plauque now, it would be a whole lot different. And that’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, it is just what time does.

  2. I’m quite fascinated by this ‘Graveyard Gwen’ character, the gossip queen of a . . . .graveyard?!

    It is such a shame that Brendan’s yard has closed. I feel certain that he would have created something beautiful for your Littlegirl.

    I hope you find the right stone the next time you venture into grey and black shopping territory.

  3. One day I will buy a chainsaw and a tree trunk and I will carve a standing angel with huge wings hanging from his shoulders… for Fionn.

    gentrification – what does that word mean? I tired looking it up in a dictionary… my dictonary/English is failing me 😛 But if I haven’t been does that mean I’ll have it good in the future in this “town”???

    Love to you and Irishmum

    xx Ines

  4. I never really thought about the skills necessary for stone carving – amazing. Such a shame that everything is going “mass produced” these days.

    Maya was cremated so a head stone was never a consideration. Just a few days after she died, I remember hubby and I sitting on our couch looking through a catalog of urns that the funeral director had provided for us. We didn’t like any of the urns and opted for a plain white cardboard box until we were able to find the right one.

    We ended up with a hand painted wooden box that we found on etsy. It’s not even close to traditional and does not look like an urn at all, but the theme of the artwork that had been painted on it was perfect for her.

    Don’t worry about what others think. Take your time and you and Irishmam will find the right one.

  5. You’ll know when something is right. It’s been over a year for me and I’m still struggling with what to do for the boys…something will just speak to you…screw
    “Graveyard Gwen” (you need to write more about her…sounds fascinating)
    Big hugs…

    PS Did you know that I went to school at Trinity College in Dublin for a semester? I love Dublin and I know where The Liberties are…

  6. Thanks everybody for your comments.

    We’re taking our time with the stone, though we think we’ve seen one that we ‘like’

    You are all right with your comments, we’ll find something that’s right for us, conventional or not, when the time is right.

    Mkwewer, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Dublin.

    Ines – you’ll know your area is being gentrified when your local shops start selling goats cheese and balsamic vinegar 🙂

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