Work has commenced on extending the graveyard capacity at Drumboe Cemetery in Stranorlar.
Huge mounds of earth and stone have appeared at one unused corner of the site as part of the preparatory works while two JCB diggers create a foundation for future use.
The land was purchased by the late Monsignor Canon Joseph Mulreany PP a year prior to this.
The new entrance and gates, along with the toilet block and store were built by the late John O’Donnell from Curraghamone in 2013.
Local caretaker, Phil Lyons and the parish graveyard committee, have been very active over the years to ensure the quality of this facility is maintained to the highest standards.
He revealed this week that with space decreasing, it was decided the time was right to finish off the site.
“We are developing the last part of the site for graves as we were running out of space.
“This has happened in other places such as Crossroads and Glenfin and their extensions have worked very well so we decided to do the same to prepare for the future also.
“All the hard rock in the ground is being removed to accommodate the graves along with all the preparatory work to leave it ready for use.”
He said it was obvious capacity was running out and work needed to be done.Fr McAteer added due to Covid restrictions he was not able to provide a date for graveyard services.
“We had to do the graveyard Mass via Facebook last year so it might be the same this year.
“It’s the same with First Communion and Confirmation, we just have to wait until the time is right,” he said.
In fact this site where the current work is taking place has some historical interest for the Ballybofey-Stranorlar area.
It is understood the graveyard site was once the main GAA pitch in the Twin Towns. GAA was believed to be introduced to the area in 1916 and two clubs were formed, Ballybofey’s Eire Og’s and a year later Stranorlar Sarsfields.
In October 1926 at a joint meeting of the two clubs, a new club was formed called Erin’s Hope.
The Hopes had no permanent home ground until a pitch was located at this site in Drumboe.
The club had no permanent home ground until in 1946, as part of ‘Civic Week’, a match was held between Donegal and Sligo in Ballybofey.
This was such a success that a Park Committee was formed and the club’s present grounds were finally secured and also became Donegal’s county grounds.
When noted local Republican, Sean MacCumhaill, passed away in 1949, it was decided to name the new park in his honour, and Erin’s Hope then changed their name to Sean MacCumhaills’ also.
So when the work is completed the cemetery will have additional capacity and it is expected in a few years the site of the current car park will then be developed for additional graves.