Burial Grounds

The management of Burial Grounds is governed by various health legislation and regulations, such as ‘Rules Applicable to Burial Grounds Provided Under the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878’, and ‘Rules and Regulations for the Regulation of Burial Grounds’ etc (as Amended), and under the Burial Ground Bye Laws adopted by Offaly County Council. The current Bye Laws may be viewed at Offaly County Council Burial Ground Bye Laws 2015. 

The control and management of burial grounds was originally undertaken by Burial Boards, which were sub-committees of the various Poor Law Unions. In 1889 the function was carried out on behalf of the local authority by the Rural District Councils, and then from circa 1923 by the Boards of Health & Public Assistance. From the early 1940s the function became the direct responsibility of the County Council. 

The day-to-day management of burial grounds is carried out on behalf of the County Council by local Caretakers. They are responsible for completing the Registers, recording details relating to interments, and taking payment for the purchase of burial plots and so on. 

A survey undertaken by Offaly County Council in 2015 found that there are at least 187 burial grounds in the county. The burial grounds range in age from several hundred years old to the newly constructed. The survey may be viewed at Offaly Burial Ground Database 2015.

See the following link for a List of Burial Grounds in County Offaly

The owners of burial grounds in Offaly include the following:

35%     Offaly County Council

26%     Catholic Church

22%     Private Ownership

13%     Church of Ireland

1%       Quakers

1%       National Monuments Service

1%       Department of Defense

1%       Community Groups

There are 41 Open, and 22 Closed Council owned burial grounds in the county.

Burial Ground Regulations

Council owned and operated burial grounds in County Offaly are regulated in accordance with the Burial Ground Bye Laws 2015.

Lawn Cemeteries

A Lawn Cemetery is a grass lawn cemetery in which kerbs and surrounds are not permitted and where burial plots are maintained as grassed areas. The new cemetery at Clonoghill, Birr and the cemetery extension at St. Michael’s Cemetery at Portarlington are examples of Lawn Cemeteries in County Offaly. Further lawn cemeteries will be developed by the Council, generally as extensions to existing cemeteries.

The current locations of existing and planned lawn cemeteries is:

Clonoghill Cemetery, Birr

St. Michael's Cemetery, Portarlington

Killeigh Cemetery, Killeigh

Raheen Cemetery, St. Mary’s Church, Raheen, Geashill

Kilreaghan Cemetery, Ferbane

Clara Monastery Cemetery, Kilcoursey, Clara


Offaly County Council has guidelines and criteria for erection of headstones at burial grounds. Before any work commences at the burial plot, a Headstone Application Form.pdf (size 592.1 KB) must be completed and submitted to the Environment Section, Offaly County Council, and permission may be granted, which will stipulate certain conditions. The form may be downloaded, or can be obtained directly from the Environment Section. There is no fee for this application.

Provision of burial grounds

There is an ongoing programme for the provision and extension of burial grounds within available resources. Land has to be identified and trial holes must be undertaken to test its suitability. The provision and extension of a burial ground is subject to Planning Regulations. The Council welcomes partnership with local communities who wish to undertake development works themselves with the support of the County Council. 

Purchase of Burial Plot in burial ground owned by Offaly County Council

If you wish to purchase a plot you should contact the Caretaker of the appropriate cemetery. Contact Environment Section for details at 05793 57416 or e-mail environment@offalycoco.ie.

Please note that burial plots will not be sold in advance, but only as the need arises.

As of 01/01/2023 The fee for a single individual burial plot at one of the Burial Grounds listed on the attached schedule will be €550.00; the fee for a double burial plot will be €1,100.00.

Burial Records

Records of all burial plots allocated and all burials vested in Offaly County Council are maintained by the Caretaker or Registrar. Further information is available from the Environment Section - phone 05793 57416, or e-mail environment@offalycoco.ie.

In 2003 a number of burial registers were scanned to microfilm by Offaly Council Library Services and these may be viewed in the public libraries. The list of records available may be viewed at Scanned Burial Records.

Exhumation Licence

Offaly County Council administers Exhumation Licence Applications. An Exhumation Licence Application Form may be downloaded, or can be obtained directly from the Environment Section. Completed application forms should be returned to the Environment Section, accompanied by a fee of €113.50. Exhumation Licences are legislated for under the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1948, as amended by Local Government Act, 1994.


Photo of Burial Ground