graveyard red

Graveyard red

During our brief sunny spell at the weekend I stopped into the Forthill Cemetery in Galway city, an old graveyard I’d never visited before.

It was ablaze with roses, and I seized the moment to take plenty of pictures, which was a good call as the lashing rain today probably stripped the bushes of their blooms by now.

Under the blinding sun the atmosphere was upbeat and cheery. The roses struck supermodel poses against the stark, blue sky or the plain, grey palate of the gravestones. It was inclement weather for ghosts.

I bumped into the caretaker, who was pleased I was so attentive to his roses. He gave me an unexpected tour of the graves, and told me the history of the place and described his job – he is also the gravedigger.

This is a part-time vocation he took on from his father, and it is mostly unpaid. I was struck at how the world turns on the kindness of people like this – who do necessary tasks out of a sense of duty and civic pride.

He ensures that even the graves of families long vanished from this world are kept tidy and in good order.

Roses bob their heads alongside the rectangles of trimmed grass and warm stone tombs.

On a sunny day the dead radiate their approval.