Straid was the only burial ground, in the parish, used by Protestants and Catholics, until a new graveyard was opened at Clonmany Chapel in 1829.
At Straid there are rows upon rows of simple flagstones with no inscriptions to mark the family graves of the local people buried there. Exceptions are – Denis O Donnell, composer of Pléaracha na bPollán who died in 1778 and Fr. Patrick Mc Faul who died aged 32 in 1805.
The most significant grave in the Straid graveyard is that of Mary O’Neill (1720 – 1786), wife of Rev. Arthur Chichester and daughter of Henry O’Neill of Shane’s Castle, Co Antrim and her son Rev. William Chichester (1743-1815). The union of these two most powerful families in Ulster was of importance later when the O Neill line became extinct – the 3 rd Viscount O Neill died in 1855 without a direct heir. He left his estate to his cousin, William Chichester, a grandson of Rev William Chichester who took the surname O’Neill by patent in 1868. Former Prime Minister Terence O Neill was a descendant and members of his family are aware of the importance of Mary O’Neill’s grave in Staid and have visited it.
Another Rector of the Church of Ireland was Rev.Daniel Mc Laughlin (aka Domhnall Gorm) who built the beautiful mansion called Dresden. He died there in 1711 the same year as his brother Peter (aka Peadar Caoch), a Franciscan priest. According to tradition they are both buried side by side, inside the walls of the old Church. The story of these two Mc Laughllin brothers from the Moville area who set off for an Irish College on the Continent is well known. After being shipwrecked Daniel accepted an offer of an education at an English University became a Protestant Minister but Peter
refused and studied for priesthood in the Irish College Louvain. Later they both ministered to their respective faithful in Clonmany parish at the same time, Domhnall with a Church and few Protestants, Peter with no church and a large parish of Catholics.
The graves of local Landlords of the 18 th and 19 th centuries are also inscribed. Among these are the Mc Neills of Binion House, the Chareltons of Roxtown House and the Dohertys of Glen House. The Dohertys have a double grave as Neil Sean’s family were Catholic but his son Michael became Protestant and his family were the last patrons of the Straid Church.
Doherty, Landlords, Glen House