Last week we went to Glasnevin Cemetery. This cemetery was slightly outside the city to the north, which was understandable due to the amount of land needed to be a functioning cemetery-it’s 124 acres, and even spans across to the other side of the main road! They are still burying people in the cemetery daily, although we did not see one while on our tour. The cemetery is crucial to Irish history, as many famous figures are buried here-specifically related to all the large conflicts that Ireland has had in its past centuries. Daniel O’Connell established the cemetery in 1832, for people of all religions, due to the conflicts between the Protestants and the Catholics at this time in Ireland. O’Connell’s burial site was one of the first that we saw on our tour at Glasnevin and was certainly the most majestic. It is a large tower, that people used to be able to climb to the top of, however the stairs collapsed and you are now no longer able to make it to the top, however our guide told us that the stairs are being reconstructed so that visitors can once again climb to the top. We were however allowed to enter into O’Connell’s burial site, which after going through a gate, entered into an open space where in the middle his casket laid. It was covered in stone, but open on the sides so we were able to touch it, which our guide said would bring us good luck. On the wall were written important events of O’Connell’s life, as well as supposedly his last words “My body to Ireland, my heart to Italy and my soul to heaven” however, our guide explained that it is unsure if his heart actually made it to Italy. Off to the side was another smaller room where his loved one’s coffins were stacked. They were also said to be airtight shut and if someone were to open them the diseases that the individuals had died from would escape-gross!
Next we went to go look at the site where Parnell was buried, which was a large pit where individuals who died of cholera were all buried together. He was buried on this site as well, to be with the people, along with his mother. The site is now marked by a large rock engraved with his last name. We saw many more important burial sites including that of De Valera, a leader towards a free Ireland and the sites where during the famine people would just be buried in mass graves, but our tour ended with Michael Collins’ grave. He was a Republican leader killed in 1922 during the Civil War, and is an important figure in the Civil War. Our guide said that the funeral procession took over 3 hours from beginning to end because so many people had come to his funeral, he was well regarded by the side fighting for an Irish Republic. And interestingly enough, there was a fresh bouquet laid on his grave now, by a woman who is said to be in love with Michael Collins, although she has never met him so he still has an adoring fan base today. We ended our visit by entering the museum, which explained burial practices of different cultures and religions but also those within Glasnevin.