I had never heard of Glasnevin cemetery until coming to Ireland. The extensiveness of the cemetery is daunting. To think that there are more people in that cemetery than there are in Dublin is an overwhelming idea. One of the largest and most predominant cemeteries in the world, Glasnevin cemetery contains the graves of the most important persons in Irish history.
Daniel O’Connell, accredited to obtaining Catholic Emancipation, has a grave fit for a king. Standing over all of Glasnevin cemetery is Daniel O’Connell’s tower; and at the base is his actual casket. Only recently was the grave reopened for the public to see after a bombing of the gate. The detail and general grandeur of the grave represent the importance of Daniel O’Connell to the Irish people. It is said to be good luck to touch the coffin, which many of us did.
Less impressive to the eye but no less important to the people is the grave of Charles Parnell. Parnell, who implemented the idea of Home Rule to the British Parliament, was divinely popular with the people until a scandal involving Katherine O’Shea divided the Irish nationalists. On Parnell’s grave sits a stone with his name. The stone sits over a cholera tomb including hundreds of people of Dublin. While not as grand as O’Connell’s tower, Parnell’s grave still shows his importance to the Irish people, as only his last name is written on it, indicating that everyone knows of his name.
The graves of Michael Collins and Amon De Valera also lie within Glasnevin Cemetery. De Valera’s grave is very simple and surrounds his son’s premature grave alongside his wife. Out tour guide told us that there are still rivalries between supporters of de Valera and supporters of Michael Colins. People will lag behind to give respect to de Valera while others will anxiously tap their feet and ask where Michael Collin’s grave is. His grave is somewhat secluded and is perpetually surrounded by flowers.
Overall it was a very humbling experience to see how memorialized each person was. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how celebrated each individual that we learned in class about was.