Glasnevin Cemetery


Sunday 23rd May saw me visit Glasnevin Cemetery with my good friend Blaithín.

I was dubious. I was beginning to wonder slightly why I went, at first. You may also wonder why a cemetery is being featured on this blog. As disclaimers go, I paid in just like the rest of the some 30 people who managed to get on the guided tour.

But the 140 acre site is amazing. The €5 priced guided tours done by historian and development manager Shane MacThomais run daily at 11.30am, 12.30 & 2.30pm and are well worth it. Really well worth it.

Of course you can walk in for free…. but whats the fun[?] in that. There are 1.5 million people buried there since 1832 – just pay the fiver…. you won’t regret it.

From an ‘outdoors’ person perspective…. it was noticeable that the trust has been putting a lot of money into restoration of the entire grounds. A lot of headstones appeared as 2 seperate colours and it wasn’t until Shane explained that they had been laid a long time ago and sank, some from 8′ high down to just 2′. These are all now being fixed. The fact that the yew trees were put there to prevent people parking their cattle and right down to why cemeteries are no longer placed by rivers as they used to be.

This June the cemetry will also be joined with the Botanical Gardens so one will be able to walk through from one to the other and there are further plans to open a sort of stone masons apprentices school. That I think is a great idea for such a craft. Once again its not until Shane explains how long in hours and hammer taps per hour a piece of stone takes by hand.

All that aside there are the stories of the grave robbers, why a Dublin person is never buried after 12 noon [uisce beatha 😉 ]  and as funny as it sounds even just looking at the trees made me smile.

The tour outdoors takes about 1.5 hours. The tour inside the building and out combined costs a tenner and both receipts will give you discount in the coffee shop [where the cakes are a must and the staff are polite]. They also do student rates. If you believe you may have some family history here…. do go and research.

Some of the more better known names buried there include: Daniel O’Connell, Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera, Charles Stewart Parnell, O’Donovan Rossa, Arthur Griffiths and Countess Markiewicz. Brendan Behan, Luke Kelly, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Michael Cusack and Liam Whelan.

The trust employs 2 full time and 7 part time staff and can be contacted via the Glasnevin Trust website, telephone 00353-1-8826590 or email tours[at]glasnevintrust[dot]ie

*view more images of Glasnevin Cemetry

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8 replies
  1. Stone Art Blog
    Stone Art Blog says:

    Im glad you wrote a post about this, I have been meaning to go up there since moving to Dublin last year. I have been to the botanical gardens a number of times thinking how great it would be if you could walk from one to the other, so am delighted to hear that this will be happening. Will have to make an extra effort to go now. The stone masons apprentices school sounds like a fantastic idea as well would be a great boost for a dieing trade. Cheers for the info, Sunny

  2. Bngr
    Bngr says:

    Great post, great tour. Shane really was a great guide. I said to him he’s got the best job ever, he said I know.

    The picture on the bottom left is my favourite of the original gateway into the graveyard.

    Tip of the day from me, that even Shane hadn’t noticed, is that when you’re by Parnell’s grave, on the northside of the cremetorium chapel, the tall trees totally block out any vision of the round tower, which is amazing given how high it is.

  3. peter donegan
    peter donegan says:

    @ sunny
    yeah i’d like to go back to see the stone masons craft given new life. will make more than just a cemetary. Although I know they have put a lot of thought into respecting those that visit for personal reasons too.

    thanks mate. and what can one do for a 5-er these days….? Shane is such an amazing mind of information. He also has a sense of humour which is brilliant. In fairness to the guy he really makes it.

    thanks for the tip off and the suggestion to go. Really glad I did now 🙂

  4. Brogen
    Brogen says:

    Great post. I have a strange sort of love affair with cemeteries, but have never been to Glasnevin. Will have to rectify that. Your pix are gorgeous. Thanks for posting.

  5. Niamh
    Niamh says:

    I’m really sorry now that I didn’t get to do the tour, as I’d said to Blaithín, had been to the museum in April and decided I’ll have to go back for the proper tour. Defo will now that you have both given it the thumbs up 🙂

    Great post Peter.

  6. peter donegan
    peter donegan says:

    thanks Niamh. Got to give all credit here to Blaithín for letting me know about it. A Sunday and few bob well spent. That aside, credit to Shane MacThomais – he really is a great tour guide… I honestly thought I’d be bored silly… quite the opposite I’m very happy to say.
    let me know how you get on.

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