Burial Sites

Bere Island Graveyard
BIPG Archive
Turk Island, reputed to be the burial place of Turkish sailors.
Helen Riddell

The graveyard on Bere Island is adjacent St Michael’s Church in the townland of Ballinakilla, with some graves dating to the 1700s.   It also contains a number of British Commonwealth War graves linked to the island’s role as a British Admiralty base during World War One.  The parents of William Martin Murphy,  the newspaper publisher and politician who represented Dublin from 1885 to 1892 are also buried here.  Martin-Murphy was later dubbed William Murder Murphy among the striking members of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union during the Dublin Lockout of 1913.   A newer graveyard lies to the north of the older graveyard.


There are a number of Cilíneach or children’s burial grounds located throughout the island, with one in each of the island’s town lands.  All of these sites are on private farmland, and many are now overgrown.

Famine grave

A field to the north of the promontory fort Dun Beag contains a pile of stones which is said to be the grave of a woman who died in the area during the famine and was buried where her body was found.  As the grave was so shallow, local tradition has it that anyone passing the grave should add a stone to it.

Turk Island

Turk Island is a small island which lies in Lawrence Cove, Bere Island. Folklore reports that in pre-famine times a Turkish ship arrived in to Berehaven, flying a plague flag from its mast.  Some of its crew tried to land on Bere Island but were forbidden from doing so by the islanders.   Eventually most of the crew recovered, and were permitted to bury their dead, but only on a small island lying off Lawrence Cove, which became known as Turk Island.  There are three stones marking graves on the island. It is inaccessible although the island can be viewed from a boat.

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