Tours of Old Church Cemetery

For many years Jack Gilmartin gave free tours of the Old Church Cemetery. Unfortunately Jack Gilmartin passed away early in 2015 and we extend our condolences to his wife Betty and his family on their sad loss.
Jack Gilmartin was a legend and his free historical tours of the Old Church Cemetery were legendary. He had the knack of making history entertaining and fun and people travelled from far and wide to listen to him. Just how good a tour guide he was is evidenced by the fact that people rarely slipped away from his 2 hour plus tours before they were over, even in the rain!
We would like to share the words of seven amateur historians that visited Cobh in 2012 in memory of Lusitania victim Florence Watson who was buried in the Old Church Cemetery but was later reburied in their village in the UK. Jack met them and gave them the “short” tour that lasted just two hours.
They wrote afterwards to Jack:
“On behalf of “Sutton Pals”, (John C, Taffy, Chas, Brian, Michael, John B: and myself), I would like to thank you for making our visit so memorable. The Old Church Cemetery Tour was so interesting and we all took away feelings of gratitude for all that was done by the Cobh community for those involved and particularly for those who perished in the “Lusitania” tragedy, including Mrs Florence Watson, now buried in our own St. James’ Church Cemetery. Jack, your knowledge of the Cemetery is simply formidable and we are very grateful for the time you spent with us.
We took away lasting memories from our few days in County Cork and a greater understanding of Ireland and it’s friendly and hospitable people.


The Old Church Cemetery has over 11,000 recorded burials spanning over 3 centuries, including the victims of the Lusitania, Jack Doyle, poet Charles Wolfe and Napoleon’s appointed surgeon on St. Helena Dr. James Verling.  Over 3,000 of those buried in the Cemetery succumbed to TB!

It is intended to immortalise Jack’s memory with a suitable plaque at the cemetery that he knew so well and loved passionately.

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