Cillíní or burial grounds for unbaptised babies, date predominantly from the post-medieval period (mid-sixteenth century) to the mid-twentieth century, though a number of medieval examples have also been recorded.
It is reported that there are 136 cillíní sites or unbaptised children’s burial grounds in county Clare. This apparently is a remarkable number when compared with most counties.
Locations of cillíní were chosen carefully. Children’s burials in Clare were located ‘near Holy Wells, others are on the borders of townlands, or in places of mystical significance, at crossing points, near megalithic tombs, fairy ring forts, near to old church ruins or in positions of importance.
The use of cillíns continued up to the 1940’s and in some instances, the 1950’s. Recently in some parishes, the cillíns have been embraced, signposted, and re-assimilated into the prayer community. In many instances the presence of the cillíní is still in the memory of local people and in the community and there is a desire for these sites to be preserved and remembered today.
This project aims to audit and survey the cillíní of County Clare so that knowledge of their existence is preserved for future generations.
Please note that the details of events listed above are provided by the relevant Local Authorities.