Cork is packed to the gills with macabre hidden history.
In fact, most of the time you don’t even need to look too closely to see a creepy remnant of another time looking back at you.
Case in point; the medieval coffin hole set into Youghal’s ancient town walls.
Located in the grounds of the 799-year-old St Mary’s Collegiate Church, the unsettling hollow harks back to a time when money was tight and poor families could not afford the price of a coffin or a burial plot in which to bury their loved ones.
The casket-shaped recess in the stone wall was designed to store the wooden community coffin when it wasn’t in use.
As a mark of respect, the body of the deceased pauper would be placed in the wooden coffin for a funeral mass, then removed, wrapped in a shroud and transferred to its final resting place in a mass burial plot.
An ancient engraving show what it might have looked like at the time, when the stonework was younger and a little neater.
St Mary’s Church is a fascinating and peaceful place to explore (don’t miss the extraordinary nave, beautifully constructed from Irish oak and the ornate tomb of Richard Boyle – the Great Earl of Cork 1566 – 1643 and his family) but do be respectful of the residents and their families.
Image credit: Find A Grave