A burial ground for unbaptised babies in the Bay of Kells

This is a small village in Kerry by the sea. For many years it was a secret graveyard where the babies were buried who had not been baptised – they were not allowed to be buried in the consecrated ground of the Church – so secretly at night the fathers’ of the children (only him) came at night time and secretly buried the child. There are a further 116 such  graves as these on the Iveeragh peninsula in Kerry – and easily over 1000 in the rest of the country. People who committed suicide, unknown sailors who died at sea, or an  unrepentant criminals were also buried here.There are, a local reports, over 300 graves here – the  names of whom are unknown. 

Eight years ago the site was overgrown with brambles and tall grasses. In in 2008, it was cleaned up and the graves made visible  and a  new pathway giving access created – as well as signs indicating its past erected. There was even a small altar erected where last year (2017) 200 local  people came to honour the dead here. Very few of of these sites have so far been opened up in Ireland. The graveyard is a sign of the changing attitude of the Church and Irish society in general.

A burial ground for unbaptised babies in the Bay of Kells

Comments about this page

  • Thank you Tony for remembering these beautiful little souls.
    What a wonderful gesture to babies to have their resting place cleaned so this generation may honour their memory.

    By Noelene Beckett Crowe (13/07/2022)
  • I have recently became familiar with this most beautiful resting place. Its history saddenens me but how some people can make such a difference in the changing attitudes that come with time is heart felt. Spending time at Kells beach now for me now is always never leaving without taking a walk to acknowledge these children.

    By Sheila Costello (11/07/2022)

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