Rothar Routes

Cycle routes & pilgrim journeys in Ireland and Europe …..

Walt Disney, Saint Willibrord, Pierce Butler and Clonmelsh!

The Disney Graves at Clonmelsh Graveyard, Carlow

Talk about a hidden gem!

No sign post, nor information stand  directs or informs visitors to one of Carlow’s most interesting and unique sites of historical importance.

Less than 10 kms from Carlow Town and not far from Milford Cross, on a side road off the L3050 is Clonmelsh Graveyard.

It is the last resting place of the ancestors of Walt Disney, the great pioneer of the American animation industry. Close by is the ancestral grave of the family of Pierce Butler, one of the architects and signatories of the American Constitution.

And less than 100 metres further on are the ruins of a famous ecclesiastical site where Saint Willibrord, patron saint of Luxembourg was educated.

All three are significant historical people and we should do more to promote the sites. Good to see that some locals, I presume, have started the work and sandblasted the headstones and cleared the sites.

Carlow has a seriously rich ecclesiastical history worth telling.

Dermot Mulligan in Carlow County Museum has written about Saint Willibrord and there is a Carlow Diocesan Pilgrimage to Echternach, Luxembourg in June.

I have included this site on one of my cycling routes which will be in my book Cycling South Leinster, Great Road Routes which will be published by Collins Press on May 29th.

Rath Melsigi site of an important monastic site in the seventh and eight centuries

Cross at Clonmelsh


2 Responses to “Walt Disney, Saint Willibrord, Pierce Butler and Clonmelsh!”

  1. Paul Gorry

    The graveyard looks very different now to what it was in the early 1990s – very overgrown. While it’s good that someone is looking after it, sandblasting is not a way to preserve gravestones. They should get advice before doing any more work like that. I see the letterings on Abigail and George Disney’s gravestones have been painted, which makes the inscriptions more legible. That’s a good step.

    • Turlough

      Good to read your comment Paul. I don’t know who carried out the work or if indeed they are sandblasted (they certainly look like they were). What would you advise should eb done to preserve the headstones?


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