Glasnevin Cemetery

25 Nov

Located in Glasnevin, Dublin, the Glasnevin Cemetery dates back to 1832. Over the past two hundreds years there have been 1.5 million bodies buried in the cemetery. Formally known as Prospect Cemetery, Glasnevin is a non-denominational cemetery that consists of two parts. One part is located within high walls with seven watchtowers surrounding the area while the other is across the street, known as St. Paul’s (Wikipedia).

Glasnevin was first opened in February of 1832 and included a mere 9 acres of land. Currently, the cemetery covers about 124 acres, including St. Paul’s, extending across the street from the original site. In 1982 cremation became another option for deceased individuals at Glasnevin. Today, the Dublin Cemeteries Committee continues to look after Glasnevin Cemetery where many funeral services and burials continue to occur (Wikipedia).

Glasnevin contains numerous graves of famous historical Irish figures that are visited on a regular basis. One prominent figure is Daniel O’Connell. O’Connell was a strong supporter of Catholic rights and campaigned for a burial ground that would allow both Irish Catholics and Protestants to bury deceased individuals in a non-denominational cemetery. Prior to Glasnevin, Irish Catholics were restricted in the ways they could perform funeral services (Wikipedia).

Visiting Daniel O’Connell’s crypt was especially fascinating for me. It was interesting to learn about the structure of it as well. The round tower that O’Connell is buried beneath reminded me of the monastic site that I visited in Glendalough a few months ago. According to our tour guide at Glasnevin, round towers were common in monasteries as well as the small rooms surrounding O’Connell’s crypt, resembling the rooms where monks lived. O’Connell’s burial site made it evident that he was a well-loved, Irish-Catholic hero.

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Other influential Irish figures that are buried in Glasnevin are Michael Collins, Charles Stewart Parnell, Éamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, Countess Markievicz, Michael Cusack, Robert Erskine Childers, and Gerard Manley Hopkins (Visit Dublin).

I was amazed at the recordkeeping that the cemetery holds of each individual burial. After visiting the cemetery, I went to the museum and discovered that you could search your genealogy to learn about your ancestors and family history. Unfortunately, I am not Irish so I was unable to find any connection to Glasnevin, but I was fascinated by its vastness and interesting history.

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