A cillín (from the Irish language, with the literal meaning "little cell", "little churchyard" or "little burial ground"; plural cillíní), was a historical unconsecrated burial place in Ireland for children unbaptised at the time of death. Suicides, shipwrecked sailors, strangers, unrepentant murderers and their victims were also sometimes buried there—they were used for "infants and other ambiguous categories of individual". Some of them are more than a thousand years old. Ancient pagan burial practices were sometimes later co-opted by Christianity.
The word cillín is a common element in Irish place names, often anglicised as Killeen. An alternative meaning of cillín indicates a small church, from the diminutive form of Irish: cill, meaning church. The word is thought to come from the Latin: cella, meaning little church or oratory. Another meaning for the word cillín is "cell" as in prison cell or monastic cell (many placenames are derived from the cell of a local monk/saint).
List of cillíns
- Carrowkeel, County Galway.
- Corcullen, Moycullen, County Galway
- Cillíní: historical and doctrinal background, cillini.org
- The forgotten dead: The cillíní and disused burial grounds of Ballintoy, County Antrim, Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Third Series, Vol. 58, 1999
- The Tradition of Separate Burials in Ireland: Cilliní and Place, by Emma Pankey, cola.unh.edu
- Böll’s artist son revisits sites where Achill’s unbaptised buried, The Irish Times, May 3, 2014
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- The Irish term cillín is the diminutive form of cill. See entry cill, at tearma.ie
- Cillín. Placenames Database of Ireland. Retrieved: 2011-01-10.
- The origins of the Irish Cillin: the segregation of infant burials within an early medieval enclosure at Carrowkeel, Co. Galway. Brendon Wilkins. Paper presented to the Theoretical Archaeology Group, Columbia University, 2008.
- Killeen. Placenames Database of Ireland. Retrieved: 2011-01-10.
- lisín, tcd.ie
- See entry lios, at tearma.ie
- Some graveyards are listed here: Lisín na Leanbh - Lisheennalannov, galwaylibrary.ie
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