Opposition to laws curbing headstone heights in Kerry

Aghadoe Graveyard in Killarney.

Attempts by Kerry County Council to curb the height of new headstones in about 150 public graveyards are meeting with resistance.

Height restrictions were set in 2010, but a lack of enforcement saw grave-markers “as big as Knock Shrine” erected.

Cemetery bylaws introduced in March say graveyard monumental sculptors must register with the council for an annual permit before being allowed work in Kerry graveyards. 

Monuments can not exceed 1.5m in height or 1m in length, and must be described in detail and approved by council engineers.

The regulations came into effect after councillors complained existing restrictions were blatantly disregarded and intruding on neighbouring graves, particularly in Tralee and Killarney.

Giant monuments costing up to €100,000 and overshadowing neighbouring graves continued to be built in Aghadoe, Killarney’s scenic cemetery. 

Headstones twice and three times the height restriction of 1.5m are being put up, the council heard.

“Giant monuments — obscene monuments — totally in breach of existing current bylaws are being erected,” said Independent councillor Brendan Cronin.

Independent councillor Johnny Healy-Rae said some monuments are “as big as Knock Shrine” and this is very unfair.

Independent councillor Sam Locke said Tralee’s Rath cemetery has the same problem.

However, some graveyard sculptors say the crackdown is unfair. 

Patrick Nagle of Nagle Memorials in Killorglin said he has wholesale stock of a couple of hundred thousand euro that is now effectively frozen. 

A council spokesman said they are willing to meet with the sculptors but noted the majority of grave monument sculptors in Kerry have agreed to register with the council.

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