Unauthorised humanist weddings damaging graves at historic Abbey in Co Clare

OPW erects signage warning visitors that civil ceremonies are not permitted at Corcomroe Abbey, a National Monument

The staging of unauthorised humanist weddings and civil ceremonies at an ancient 13th century Abbey in the Burren, Co Clare is resulting in damage to graves slabs, with locals upset over litter, broken glass and bottles being left behind.

Minister for State at the Department of Public Expenditure Patrick O’Donovan said the OPW had erected signage advising visitors that such events were not permitted at the National Monument as “a last resort”.

Corcomroe Abbey was built in the 13th century and the Cistercian Monastery is located a few miles from the Burren coastal village of Ballyvaughan.

In a Dáil response to independent Clare TD Michael McNamara on the issue, Minister O’Donovan said the activity at Corcomroe has led to concerns in relation to the damage to grave slabs in the nave of the Abbey in the front of an altar.


“Chairs and other items are being placed on the grave slabs which leave scratches behind. The graveyard is an active graveyard regularly visited by family members who have been upset by finding litter, broken glass, bottles, and flower arrangements left behind after these unauthorised events,” he said.

Minister O’Donovan said the OPW has tried to engage with celebrants who advertise the Abbey as a wedding location to request that they move location.

He said there are a number of sites where the OPW facilitates humanist weddings and civil ceremonies, including the Céide Fields, Ormond Castle in Tipperary, Dungarvan Castle in Waterford, Kilkenny Castle and Charles Fort in Cork.