Special blessing at the Dougher Cemetery site

Dougher Cemetery

Dougher Cemetery

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A special dedication ceremony is to take place at the Dougher Cemetery for the unveiling of a memorial cross and accompanying stones.

Local residents have been working hard to restore the graveyard after being vandalised and left in a state of disrepair over several years.

The group Friends of Dougher have been beavering away restoring gravestones and bringing the cemetery back to its original splendour.

They began by removing overgrowth and after several months many of the plots have been restored.

Specialist advice has been sought and the correct materials were then obtained for the project. Local people and businesses have generously donated funds to help finance the project. And a small army of residents worked tirelessly in all weathers to carry out the work.

The site was the location of the first Catholic Church in Lurgan, it was a disused wood mill. It later became the site of the first Catholic girl’s school in the town. It became a burial site in the mid-19th century.

Jim McIlmurray has organised a special event on Sunday, October 11, at 3pm in the Dougher Cemetery.

“I have asked Monsignor Raymond Murray to bless the stones and both myself and the Hooded Men will speak to express our sincere admiration and respect for all of those who embarked upon the restoration of the Dougher Cemetery. We would be honoured to have the family of our comrade the late Gerry McKerr present for the unveiling,” said Mr McIlmurray.

“Our project will preserve heritage, culture and provide a site steeped in historical memorials which will be maintained for future generations.”

There will also be a stone unveiled in memory of those who died from the area during the Great Famine, and one in memory of those who are buried close to the cemetery in unconsecrated ground.

A new entrance stone reads: “The Dougher Graveyard opened in the year 1800 and the foundation of the first Catholic Church in Lurgan. Restoration through Friends of Dougher 2015.”