Let us be like this Church —
To honour the miracles of Life
To honour the comfort of Love
To honour Community
And to honour Family
For all of Eternity.
— Excerpt from Honour The Children: A Rededication
On a sunny May 15th, 2022, over 100 people gathered at the medieval ruins of Carrowleckeen Church, Knockatemple, Co. Mayo, to pay their respects to the children buried there long ago. Honour The Children: A Rededication is a touching short portrayal of the community ceremony held that day at Carrowleckeen Church. Also known as the Church of St. Ciarán and locally as Knockatemple Church and Teampaill Sam (Temple Sam), the Church is the location of a cillín, a sacred burial ground for unbaptised babies.
The Keelogues Heritage Group, a local registered charity, called for the community to come together to honour the children and their families in what became a healing event.
Rededication speakers noted the strength of those families in the face of Roman Catholic doctrine that did not support the burial of unbaptised babies in church cemeteries. Speakers also described traditions that did not support people publicly paying their respects to the deceased.
The organisers lit finger-sized bundles of sage to cleanse the space and celebrants of negativity, fill the space with positive energy, and empower those who entered with light and love.
Organisers also gave celebrants small rose quartz stones from Achill Island as keepsakes and in keeping with regional customs. Irish families sometimes used quartz stones to decorate burial places. They placed the stones there to reflect moonbeams and to potentially illuminate a path for the buried unbaptized babies from Limbo to Heaven. According to religious doctrine, Limbo is a place or state outside of Heaven where unbaptised babies went.
Safegaurding for the Future
Carrowleckeen Church, Knockatemple is protected under the National Monuments Acts 1930 – 2004. In 2021 the Keelogues Heritage Group commissioned a conservation management plan to assess the condition of the structure and to make recommendations for works to safeguard the structure into the future. In late 2023 this conservation work began.