Glasnevin Cemetery

28 Nov



I have always found cemeteries very interesting. They are such a peaceful place where you can just wander about and learn a little piece of information about someone even if you never knew them. Therefore, I was very excited to see Glasnevin Cemetery on our program schedule. I assumed it was going to be a small old graveyard holding only people who passed away centuries ago. Obviously, I was extremely surprised to arrive at a massive cemetery where funeral proceedings were still being held. For a brief moment I was a little disappointed, thinking it was going to be all modern headstones without much history, but that is certainly not the case.


Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and told us an assortment of interesting facts. The original cemetery was opened in 1832 and was 9 acres. Today it is 124 acres. Daniel O’Connell founded the cemetery because he felt it was an injustice that the Catholics had no option for a proper burial. Furthermore, he felt that there should be a location where families could give their loved ones of any denomination the burial service of their choice.


The grave and monument of O’Connell immediately catches your eye when you enter the grounds. He has an enormous tower as well as a massive crypt. Some close members of his family are buried in there as well. I couldn’t resist touching his coffin because the tour guide informed us, like so many objects in Ireland, touching it is good luck. She also explained that if you opened his family members’ coffins there would still be hair and skin because they were sealed so tight. Even more terrifying, she warned that they could explode at any moment!


We also had the chance to visit the graves of several famous Irish men and women. The most popularly visited grave is that of Michael Collins. There are always flowers atop his headstone, but the guide swore that it was never the cemetery workers’ doing, it is always visitors. I found it interesting that a woman nicknamed “the mysterious French lady” who works at a museum in Paris, makes an annual trip to Collins’ grave to leave flowers and notes. Overall, I had a wonderful time learning about all the history the cemetery holds and I am highly grateful for the opportunity to see where so many literary and revolutionary figures were laid to rest.






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