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St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Cockhill and Star of the Sea Catholic Cemetery, Desertegney are dedicated for, and continue to provide burial grounds for, the bodily remains and cremated remains of past and present parishioners of the Parish of Desertegney and Lower Fahan (Buncrana). The right of burial in the cemeteries is granted subject to the decrees and canons of the Catholic Church and the rules and regulations of the cemeteries in force at any particular time. Title to all cemetery lands remains in the Parish.

The Parish Priest shall have charge of the grounds and buildings including the conduct of funerals, traffic, employees, visitors and at all times shall have supervision and control of all persons in the cemeteries. The Parish Priest is empowered to enforce all rules and regulations and to exclude from the cemeteries any persons violating same. The Parish Priest may, from time to time, revise these rules and regulations and make reasonable administration and rules for the conduct of the cemeteries.

It is a condition of burial in these cemeteries that these rules and regulations are adhered to.

New Cemetery Plots

New cemetery plots will normally only be allocated for deceased parishioners (past and present). Non-parishioners may be permitted plots in exceptional circumstances. Charges are payable at the current prevailing rate, payment being made through an approved funeral director prior to an interment. Plots may not be “pre-booked”. New cemetery plots will be allocated on the basis of the “next available” according to the cemetery layout.

New cemetery plots will not be allocated for the interment of cremated remains, which must be buried in existing graves. The Parish may provide a Columbarium in the future.

Only single graves are permitted. Single graves are defined as being 2.44 metres

(8 feet) in length and 1.22 metres (4 feet) in width. Although the standard for the digging of new graves will be to provide a capacity for 2 interments, parishioners will be free to request a larger capacity (ie a greater depth) should they wish this. In compliance with the Safety, Health and Welfare Act, 2005, safety shoring equipment shall be installed in advance of an internment, where a grave is being dug by mechanical means to a depth greater than 1.22 metres (4 feet). When, as will always be the case when an existing one is being reopened, a grave is being dug by manual means to a depth greater than 1.22 metres (4 feet), safety shoring equipment shall be installed as the work progresses once the depth of the excavation exceeds 1.22 metres (4 feet). In the interests of safety the lining of the grave with moss, ferns or any other vegetation is prohibited.


Burials may take place in the cemetery at a date and time agreed with the Parish Priest. The funeral director must liaise with the Parish Priest or the Parish Office to open up the required grave. A Certificate of Cremation must be presented before any burial of cremated remains can take place. Cremated remains shall be contained in a casket, urn or container made of wood, metal or other material sufficiently strong as agreed with the Parish Priest. The scattering of cremated remains within the grounds of the cemeteries shall not be permitted under any circumstances.

There is no absolute right to burial for any person in the cemeteries: the Parish Priest will have the right to refuse to permit an individual burial at his sole discretion.

After burial graves will be tidied and left in an acceptable condition by the grave diggers, operatives approved by the Parish Priest but employed by the funeral director. The levelling of graves during the period of settlement will be carried out as required, and thereafter the Parish will undertake the turfing, seeding and maintenance of the lawned areas. No cost will be incurred by the family of the deceased.


In the areas in the cemeteries that have been lawned since May 1989 restrictions are in place regarding the type of memorial permitted. Within the graveyard areas no memorial may be erected without the prior approval of the Parish Priest. Families of the deceased who contemplate the erection of any monument or marker should first ascertain from the Parish Priest whether same will be allowed before they close a contract for the erection of either. Such approval can be sought only after a burial has taken place. The Parish reserves the right to prohibit the erection of any monument, considered by the Parish Priest as inappropriate either in material, workmanship, or location or which might interfere with the general effect or obstruct any principal view of the cemeteries. The maximum size of memorial permitted is 1.22metres

(4 feet) in height above ground level. An exception in the case exists where a Celtic Cross is permitted once it does not exceed 2.44 metres (8 feet) in height. The only memorial stone permitted in the graveyard is a headstone. Kerbstones, kneelers, surrounds, fences, stones etc are not permitted (see below). Any memorial or other item that does not conform to the above may be removed without notice.

The person erecting the headstone is responsible for the removal of all debris resulting from the work and making good any damage done to turf, shrubbery, adjacent graves or plots, paths or other cemetery features at their own expense.

The Parish may prohibit any contractor or workman from working in the cemeteries if such a contractor or workman proves to be unreliable or incapable or if they refuse to abide by the rules and regulations. Anyone wishing to continue to work in Cockhill and Desertegney cemeteries must adhere to these rules.

The Parish accepts no responsibility for memorials or their safety and security. Once a memorial is erected it remains the property of the family of the deceased, who are responsible for maintaining it in a safe condition at all times. If the memorial is damaged or is in a dangerous state and as a result injury is caused to a third party, then the responsibility lies with the family of the deceased.

The Parish is not responsible for damage to monuments or markers caused by water, ground shifting and/or inadequate design and/or defective foundations.

The Parish authorities will carry out periodic risk assessments in the cemeteries and should any memorial be found to pose a risk, will inform the family of the deceased who have the responsibility to address the identified problem within a reasonable timescale. In the event that the memorial has not been restored to a safe condition within a reasonable timescale the Parish Priest reserves the right to move, remove and take away such memorial. Should the Parish incur costs in making safe or removing memorials then it reserves the right to make a charge upon the family of the deceased.

Care of graves

No item is permitted to be placed in the lawned areas between the rows of headstones, and any such item (or any item that may interfere with the grounds maintenance of any area within the cemeteries) may be removed without notice by the Parish.

The introduction of any item that hinders the proper maintenance of the cemetery is not permitted. Examples of “non-permitted items” are: statues (excepts when placed on the headstone plinth), chains or fences or dug borders around graves. Similarly vases, flowers, plants, trees, ornaments of any description, gravel and kerbstones are not permitted outside the area of the headstone. Flowers are only permitted on the plinth or headstone. Any item which obstructs mowing will be removed, including items placed on the headstone plinth that project beyond the plinth.

No unauthorised person shall make any walk or cut sod or move corner posts or grave markers in the cemeteries.

Cemetery users are asked to keep the graveyards clean and tidy and are specifically required to remove their own items (for example, floral tributes) from grave areas, using the skips provided.


The gates at Cockhill Cemetery open at 8.40am and close at 8pm (6pm on Sundays) and no workmen or vehicles are permitted outside these times. Motor cars and vehicles must be kept under complete control at all times and adhere to the speed limits and any one-way traffic systems within the cemeteries.

Persons within the cemeteries are asked only to use the avenues, roads, walks and alleys and no one is permitted to walk upon or cross plots or lawns unless it be necessary to do so to gain access to one’s own plot. The Parish expressly disclaims liability for any injuries sustained by anyone violating this rule.

Visitors must observe that the cemeteries are sacred places and act accordingly, avoiding any loud or boisterous talking, loitering on the grounds or in any of the buildings, bringing refreshments into the cemeteries or consuming them on the grounds, soliciting of any commodity within the cemeteries, placing signs, notices or advertisements of any kind within the cemeteries.

Queries should be directed in writing to the Parish Priest care of the Parish Office, St Patrick’s Road, Buncrana.

These rules, which have applied as and from May 1989, have been revised by the Parish Priest, in consultation with the Parish’s Finance Committee, in November 2013.





Buncrana Parish - St Patrick's Road, Buncrana, Co. Donegal : Tel - 00 353 (0) 74 9361253