1.5 Million Souls

3 Apr

Situated approximately 2 miles north of Dublin City center, Glasnevin Cemetery sits on 124 acres of land.  This sacred plot is also home to more than 1.5 million deceased men, women and children. Yes, that’s correct, over 1.5 million people are buried at Glasnevin. The majority of these individuals lay in unmarked graves and died hundreds of years ago during the famine of the mid-19th century that caused nearly 1 million deaths across the island of Ireland.  Today, it is also the final resting place of a few of Ireland’s most heralded and notorious individuals.  The most striking burial site and tomb is that of Daniel O’Connell.  Erected underneath a massive tower, Mr. O’Connell now rests in a “tomb fit for a king”.   Though impossible to reach the summit of the tower until a restoration is completed, the tomb still remains a breathtaking and somewhat spooky experience. Tragically, the tomb was also the intended target of a terrorist bomb that destroyed the original staircase within the tower. Also resting on the grounds of Glasnevin Cemetery are Charles Stewart Parnell, Eamon De Valera, and Michael Collins. What I found to be most remarkable is that historical political figures are buried right next to common Irish families or in the case of Charles Stewart Parnell, on top of the Cholera pit which is the final resting place of over 10,000 individuals. Having common folk buried next to famous leaders brings a true sense of community to the cemetery. The vast expanse of the cemetery is overwhelming and it is quite creepy to roam the grounds and to think that the majority of graves at Glasnevin remain unmarked.

By: Ryan Waetjen 




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