When Glasnevin Cemetery comes up in news bulletins or online articles most of us say something along the lines of 'I must do that tour'. I implore you to stop reading this and head to their site right now and book yourself in https://www.glasnevinmuseum.ie/index.cfm?gclid=CJqNg_73g9MCFei97QoddCcHBw. What comes across on the tours is that the tour guides are really passionate about what they do. Having spent countless hours rambling around the gaveyard taking a few pictures for the site I find it a place of huge wonder and history. The places oozes grace and respect and even if you are not of a religious disposition you will be amazed at the mason work that is carried with some of the grave stones. From huge crypts to the imense sarcophagi that are dotted around the cemetery that are all still standng the test of time. 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 original gate was at Prospect Square in Glasnevin just next to the famous Gravediggers Pub seen here on the left of the gate.
The turn of phrase 'Going for a jar' is a very uniquely Dublin phrase in that when the gravediggers used to dig the graves they would knock on the walls of the pub. The Publican at the time would give the 'Diggers' a jar instead of a glass so as they wouldn't break the glass. Hence 'going for a jar' became a Dublin phrase now used the world over. The history of the cemetery is absolutely massive and I could not possibly do it justice on a small blog for the site. I will say however that in my experience of the place I would turn up and go where the wind takes you. Amble through the place and take the time to soak it in, read some of the epitaphs and make the O' Connell tower your point of reference. please do note that the grave yard is still a working graveyard and respect is still order of the day here.
The graveyard is undergoing a constant 'rejuvination' so to speak as the cemeterys' own masons are carefully and stone by stone reconstructing some of the very early graves here. The work is to be admired as all graves are treated with utmost respect. The DVD ' One Million Dubliners' which is based on the workings of Glasnevin is availble to buy online https://www.glasnevinmuseum.ie/index.cfm?gclid=CNe3q-v-g9MCFYGd7QodoFQIkA I cannot reccomend this DVD enough to anyone who is interested in the history, culture and the evolution of Irelands' Arlington. When I visited a couple of weeks ago there were two school tours that I managed to bunk on to, and what struck me was the awe that the students had for the dead leaders of Ireland, From Daniel O'Connell to de Valera,from names that they knew from their books like Larkin, Cathal Brugha, to be there at their graves was worth 20 hours in a classroom with their ooohs and ahhhs. One fascinting fact about the de Valera plot is that he bought the grave with the purpose of being in the shadows of Daniel O'Connell when the sun sets.
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