Derralossary Church and Graveyard CMF 2023

Aerial view of Derralossary 2023 by Joe Byrne.

Derrylossary Church and Graveyard

The Church of Ireland building that stands at Derrylossary today was constructed in 1820, with partial financial support from the Board of First Fruits, a historical institution dedicated to promoting and supporting the construction of Anglican (Church of Ireland) churches in Ireland. This church served as a place of worship for the local community for many years but fell into disuse in the 1960s. Eventually, in the 1980s, the roof was removed, and the building became a ruined structure.

Early Origins

The earliest historical reference to Derrylossary as a place of worship dates back to the thirteenth century when it was granted to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin by the Archbishop of Dublin. However, it is also believed that the site may have had connections to the nearby monastery at Glendalough. While there are no visible remains of the early church on the site, several features suggest its ancient origins. These include the oval enclosure, which is over 100 meters in diameter, and the presence of three bullaun stones within the site.

Notable Figures

In its grounds are buried patriots, paupers, priests and ordinary parishioners as well as many ‘known only to God’.

Robert Barton (1881-1975)

Robert Barton (1881-1975) was a significant figure in twentieth-century Ireland with strong local connections to Derrylossary and was raised at Glendalough House, into a wealthy Anglo-Irish family.

During World War I, Robert Barton served in the British Army, a common path for young men of his background at the time. However, his life took a different turn when he found himself in Dublin in the aftermath of the 1916 Easter Rising. The experiences and events surrounding the Rising had a profound impact on many individuals, and for Barton, it led to a change in his allegiances.

Inspired by the Republican movement, Robert Barton left the British Army and became involved in the struggle for Irish independence. His commitment to the cause resulted in his election as a Teachta Dála (TD) for West Wicklow in the 1918 general election, and he served as the Minister for Agriculture in the first Dáil Éireann. During the War of Independence, he was imprisoned, escaped, and left a note in his cell for the prison governor, citing the discomfort of his surroundings as the reason for his departure.

Robert Barton was part of the delegation that travelled to London in late 1921 to negotiate the Anglo-Irish Treaty which secured Irish Independence. This treaty ultimately paved the way for Irish independence from British rule but also led to a bitter divide in Ireland between those who supported it and those who opposed it. Barton later opposed the Treaty and stood as an Anti-Treaty candidate in the election of June 1922. The majority of voters supported the pro-Treaty side, which sought to implement the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and this electoral outcome ultimately led to the outbreak of the Irish Civil War.

Although Barton withdrew from politics after the Civil War, he later served in a number of public offices, including as Chairman of Bord na Móna. He died in 1975 and his grave is No. 5.4 on the adjacent panel.

Erskine Childers (1870-1922)

Erskine Childers was a first cousin of Robert Barton and was also a member of the Anglo-Irish Treaty delegation in 1921. During the Civil War, Childers was captured by Free State troops in possession of a handgun, which he claimed he had been given by Michael Collins. This discovery led to his arrest and ultimately to his trial by a military court and execution. Before his execution he shook hands with the firing squad and made his then 16-year-old son, the future President of Ireland, Erskine Hamilton Childers, promise him that he would seek out and shake the hand of every man who had signed his death sentence.

Erskine Hamilton Childers (1905-1974)

Erskine Hamilton Childers served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Fianna Fáil in 1938. He held various cabinet positions during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1969, he became the Tánaiste and he held this position until 1973. He resigned as Tánaiste to contest the Presidential Election of Ireland. He was elected as the fourth President of Ireland and served in this role from 1973 until his untimely death in 1974. His grave is marked No. 1 on the adjacent panel.

The Burial Record

At Derralossary, a total of 134 headstones were documented, bearing inscriptions that encompassed 277 names. The earliest dated headstone is from 1715 belonging to Thomas Freeman, No. 10.3. The oldest resident in the graveyard is Joseph Taylor, who died aged 102, No. 14.8. There are 19 headstones dating to the late 18th century. A list will be uploaded to this page in due course.


Notable Graves

No. 1 Erskine Hamilton Childers- Fourth President of Ireland (1973-74)

No. 5.4 Robert Barton (1881-1975)- Signatory of the Anglo-Irish Treaty

Stone Cutters

Derralossary boasts a small number of 18th-century headstones, 19 in total. Within this collection, two stone cutters have been identified and their headstones are noted on the accompanying map. These skilled artisans were sought after professionals, evident in the quality of their carving.

Out of the 19 legible headstones dating from 1715 to 1799. There were examples by the Purple Slate Stone Cutter and also several examples by a stone cutter, possibly Matt Gorman based on the style of the carving.

CMF 2023 (Ref: CMF23-3-WI003)

Derralossary was successfully granted a CMF award in 2023 to record the headstones, create a plan of the graveyard in addition to a reconstruction drawing of the site. The proposed panels will allow a broader audience to understand the significance and context of the site from an archaeological and genealogical viewpoint. The graveyard map will illustrate the location of important burials and bullaun stones help visitors visualize the site’s appearance, whilst at the same time providing a history and a plan of all the headstones, in the graveyard for those doing genealogical research.

Read more articles about Derralossary on this website here (Under: Places – Roundwood)

Burial of Erskine Childers at Derralossary. Reproduced by kind permission from Independent News and Media Plc.



Derralossary Church and Graveyard is one of the Wicklow projects to receive funding support from the Community Monuments Fund 2023(Ref: CMF23-3-WI003) . The CMF is coordinated by National Monuments Service of Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and administered at a local level by the Heritage Officer of Wicklow County Council. 

The Wicklow Community Archaeology Project is funded by The Heritage Council and Wicklow County Council through the County Heritage Plan fund 2022 &23.


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