Vandals smash unique tomb – Winter 2002

Home » Library » The Athenry Journal » Record

Gardaí in Athenry are investigating the vandalism of a historic tomb in the town’s Dominican Priory.

Vandals managed to breach the 18th century tomb and expose the coffin of the last person buried there, Lady Mathilda Bermingham.

Dúchas are in the process of completing repair works in the aftermath of the attack, which have shocked locals. Local people point out the tomb — located in the chancellery of the ruins of the Priory- is only accessible after dark by scaling a wall, and say considerable force was used to break in through one side of the tomb.

Some have suggested the attack took place over two nights and that a sledgehammer may have been used. The motive for the attack is unknown, but there is a feeling locally that the perpetrators could have believed valuables were interred within the tomb.

The tomb is of particular local importance as it is the final resting-place of the last of the De Bermingham family, Lady Mathilda Bermingham who died in I788.

In addition, the tomb itself has been described as a “unique” example of Coade stone monuments, and is one of just a handful of structures in the West of Ireland to feature the stone-like fired clay which is found on London’s Westminster Bridge and Buckingham Palace.

Popular in its heyday in the 18th century, the inventor of manufacturing process, Mrs Ellen Coade, took her secret to the grave, and nobody has ever been able to replicate it in the years since her death in 1840.

Tuam Herald 1st. November, 2002

– –

About this record

Written by To be confirmed!

Published here 27 Jul 2023 and originally published 1st November 2002

– –