Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Glasnevin Cemetery Tour and Museum

The Glasnevin Trust have been advertising their museum and tour of the cemetery on the radio a lot lately, so I decided to go and have a look to see what was on offer. Visiting a cemetery on your holidays does not sound like a very exiting thing to do, but I was not disappointed with today's visit to a place where over 1 million people are buried. It is of course a location for the final resting place of many well known Irish people like Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Brendan Behan, Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, and many others.

The tour started out with a rendition of Patrick Pearse's famous oration at the graveside of the old Fenian  Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa - his "the fools, the fools, the fools! — They have left us our Fenian dead" speech. Pearse wrote this speech in his cottage in Ros Muc in Connemara, where I was last week on my 100 corners tour.

While the tour was a bit like a lesson in Irish history, it was nevertheless very informative. I found the grave of Daniel O'Donnell to be the most impressive - it was a vault where his family are piled on top of one another in coffins. His own coffin is under an altar-like structure - we were told by our guide that it is considered "lucky" to touch his coffin, which I did. Despite a downpour at the grave of Maud Gonne McBride, the tour (with about 50 people) was very enjoyable. After the tour I set out to find some of the other graves not part of the tour - I saw Parnell and Arthur Griffith's graves, as well as Francis Sheehy Skeffington.

One of the big differences that you will notice  in Glasnevin is the contrast between the graves of Michael Collins and Éamon de Valera. Dev has a simple grave with no flowers, while Collins has a more elaborate grave with lots of flowers.

Overall, I thoroughly recommend this tour - below is a slide show of some of the graves I visited:

No comments:

Post a Comment