Shocking scene at a grave

The Kilkenny Moderator on Wednesday reported a magisterial investigation at the local sessions which disclosed a shocking scene in St Patrick’s graveyard, at the funeral of a woman named Mary Holland, who had been married twice.

When the coffin arrived it was found the grave was too short, and it had to be lengthened.

While this was being done a number of women congregated round the grave, and made indecent references to the deceased and her two husbands.

Most of those present, it appears, had come from the wake intoxicated. On the conduct of the women being resented a fight ensued, during which two men fell into the grave on the coffin. One of the men was almost naked. One of the women also had only some underclothing on, and as she sat on a tomb someone threw a shawl over her to cover her.

All the parties present were claiming that they held insurances on the deceased’s life, and as one family were alleged to have her life insured in several offices, the others claimed that, after paying the funeral expenses, the money should be spent in drink.

The grave was hurriedly covered up, and by the orders of the priest the police were sent for.

The semi-naked woman refused to leave, and asked was there anyone in the graveyard who could lick her.

The magistrate sentenced two women and two men to various terms of imprisonment, and said it was one of the most obnoxious incidents that had ever occurred there.

The Gloucester Citizen, May 8, 1890.

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