“Faithful Comrade and Life Long Friend”

by Julie Morrissy

for Julia Grenan and Elizabeth O’Farrell

at every turn
I hear phrases like:

There was no intention
An error was made
No intention to remove or erase

photographs fade
surfaces erode
letters and words get lost
attachments overlooked

In an effort to improve the quality
sometimes, temporarily
connections are obscured
relationships are set aside

the inscription joining Julia and Elizabeth
for eternity
became worn down
these rituals of death not a sure thing

worn down—

that much
we can probably
agree on


In December 2021, Dr Eemer Eivers, a research consultant and Senior Research Fellow at Dublin City University, drew attention on Twitter to the disappearance of the inscription for Julia/Sheila Grenan on Elizabeth O’Farrell’s gravestone at Glasnevin cemetery. A conversation ensued in which Dr Mary McAuliffe (University College Dublin) explained the circumstances of the removal. McAuliffe’s research includes female same-sex couples in the Irish Revolution.

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem featured on the Poetry Jukebox installations in Derry and Limerick from May to July 2023.