Glasnevin Cemetery (Irish: Reilig Ghlas Naíon) is a large cemetery in Glasnevin, Dublin, Ireland which opened in 1832. Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, both the guardian and storyteller for over 1.5 million people. From the ordinary to the truly extraordinary, these people helped shape the Ireland of today. We want to share their stories and times with you through tours of the cemetery, a visit to the museum or through a genealogy search for your family history.
Permanent exhibitions at Glasnevin Cemetery Museum include ‘City of the Dead’, ‘Prospect Gallery’ and ‘Milestone Gallery’. ‘City of the Dead’ is a history of the cemetery, Glasnevin Trust and even a reconstructed exhibition of how a grave robber conducted his grim business. The glazed ‘Prospect Gallery’ offers periodic historical exhibitions over a panoramic view of the cemetery along with information on it’s marvellous array of funeral monuments and historic graves. The ‘Milestone Gallery’ is home to the Milestone Timeline, a never before attempted piece of exhibition design technology. This touch screen table contains 200 life stories spanning almost 200 years and also illustrates the links between the different people who tell the story of modern Ireland.
Prior to the establishment of Glasnevin Cemetery, Irish Catholics had no cemeteries of their own in which to bury their dead and, as the repressive Penal Laws of the eighteenth century placed heavy restrictions on the public performance of Catholic services, it had become normal practice for Catholics to conduct a limited version of their own funeral services in Protestant churchyards or graveyards. This situation continued until an incident at a funeral held at St. Kevin’s Churchyard in 1823 provoked public outcry when a Protestant sexton reprimanded a Catholic priest for proceeding to perform a limited version of a funeral mass. The outcry prompted Daniel O’Connell, champion of Catholic rights, to launch a campaign and prepare a legal opinion proving that there was actually no law passed forbidding praying for a dead Catholic in a graveyard. O’Connell pushed for the opening of a burial ground in which both Irish Catholics and Protestants could give their dead dignified burial.
Glasnevin Cemetery was consecrated and opened to the public for the first time on 21 February 1832. The first burial, that of eleven-year-old Michael Carey from Francis Street in Dublin, took place on the following day in a section of the cemetery known as Curran’s Square. The cemetery was initially known as Prospect Cemetery, a name chosen from the townland of Prospect, which surrounded the cemetery lands. Originally covering nine acres of ground, the area of the cemetery has now grown to approximately 124 acres. This includes its expansion on the southern side of the Finglas Road with the section called St. Paul’s. The option of cremation has been provided since March 1982.
Glasnevin Cemetery remains under the care of the Dublin Cemeteries Committee. The development of the cemetery is an ongoing task with major expansion and refurbishment work being carried out at the present time.
The Catholic Mass is celebrated by members of the parish clergy every Sunday at 9.45 am. The annual blessing of the graves takes place each summer as it has done since the foundation of the cemetery in 1832.
Memorials and graves:
The cemetery contains historically notable monuments and the graves of many of Ireland’s most prominent national figures. These include the graves of Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, Maude Gonne, Kevin Barry, Roger Casement, Constance Markievicz, Pádraig Ó Domhnaill, Seán MacBride, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, Frank Duff, Brendan Behan, Christy Brown and Luke Kelly of the Dubliners.
The grave of Michael Collins, the nationalist leader who was killed in the Irish Civil War in 1922, is among the most visited sites in Glasnevin. Around him were buried at least 183 soldiers of the Irish Free State. In 1967 their names were recorded on memorial around Collin’s grave.
In 1993 a mass grave at the site of a Magdalene laundry, institutions ostensibly used to house “fallen women”, was discovered after the convent which ran the laundry sold the land to a property developer. The Sisters from the Convent arranged to have the remains cremated and reburied in a mass grave at Glasnevin Cemetery, splitting the cost of the reburial with the developer who had bought the land.
The cemetery also offers a view of the changing style of death monuments in Ireland over the last 200 years: from the austere, simple, high stone erections of the period up until the 1860s, to the elaborate Celtic crosses of the nationalistic revival from the 1860s to the 1960s, to the plain Italian marble of the late 20th century.
20th century gravestones.
The high wall with watch-towers surrounding the main part of the cemetery was built to deter bodysnatchers, who were active in Dublin in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The watchmen also had a pack of blood-hounds who roamed the cemetery at night.
In 2009, Glasnevin Trust in co-operation with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) began identifying the graves of Irish service personnel who died while serving in the Commonwealth forces during the two world wars. These names are inscribed on two memorials, rededicated and relocated in 2011 to near the main entrance. A Cross of Sacrifice was erected in the cemetery, in a joint Irish-British commemoration ceremony, to mark the First World War centenary. As of March 2017, there are 214 service personnel of the Commonwealth of both wars identified as buried here.
Glasnevin is one of the few cemeteries that allowed stillborn babies to be buried in consecrated ground and contains an area called the Angels Plot.
In 1982, a crematorium was constructed within the cemetery grounds by Glasnevin Trust. Since then, the service has been used for people of various religious denominations who wished to be cremated. Boyzone singer Stephen Gately was cremated at Glasnevin Crematorium in October 2009.
National Botanic Gardens
The activities and role of the Gardens is a great deal more varied than meets the eye. Our purpose is to explore, understand, conserve, and share the importance of plants. We aim to make the National Botanic Gardens a place where leisure, recreation and education are all compatible for the enjoyment of our visitors.
Conservation: Within the living collections at the National Botanic Gardens we have over 300 endangered species from around the world, and 6 species already extinct in the wild. These are a vital resource, like a Noah’s Ark for the future.
Education is a fundamental role of the National Botanic Gardens: through our collections and activities we aim to increase public awareness of plants and their importance to people globally.
Science: staff at the Gardens are actively describing new species; increasing our knowledge of the Irish flora; conducting collecting expeditions; and investigating the needs of our most threatened native species. The National Herbarium is based within the National Botanic Gardens, and has a collection of nearly ¾ million dried plant specimens. We also have an active DNA research lab.
Reference: By holding a wide range of named and labelled collections and keeping an up-to-date catalogue of the collections, the collection provides a unique reference source for Irish Gardeners, Horticulturists and Botanists.
Demonstration: Cultivating a wide range of plants from the diverse climatic regions of the world, and displaying these under good horticultural practice allows our visitors to see what they too can achieve in their own gardens. We run training courses in gardening and hold practical workshops throughout the year – see our events page for details.
Recreation: The overall design and contents of the Garden creates an environment that is stimulating, whether a visitor is here for instruction or pleasure. However it should be remembered that the primary role of the Gardens is as a scientific collection and therefore we do not allow dogs, picnics, bicycles, fishing, ball games, jogging or running, nor the playing of musical instruments or recorded music. Entry is free and we are open every day of the year besides Christmas Day. Opening times vary depending on the season.
A school visit to Glasnevin Cemetery consists of a guided tour of the cemetery, a self guided visit to the museum, and an exciting education pack. Our aim is to capture the imagination and send your class away inspired!
Our renowned history tour gives students the opportunity to explore the diversity of Irish life since 1800, through the stories of the famous (and not so famous) people who are buried here.