Glasnevin Cemetery Museum offers visitors a fascinating insight into the past
The locals call it “The Dead Centre of Dublin”- Ireland’s largest Cemetery where the social, political and historical timeline of this great city is carved in stone. Graves of great Irish icons like Collins, de Valera, Parnell, ‘Big Jim’ Larkin, Countess Markievicz, Brendan Behan and Luke Kelly rest peacefully in this original 1830’s Victorian garden cemetery. Linked via gateway to the Botanic Gardens, there are over 200 acres of parkland to enjoy.
Glasnevin’s museum was voted the number one attraction in Dublin last year by Tripadvisor, and their guided tours are fast becoming a major talking point among the visitors and residents of Dublin. With an increase of 27% last year in visitor numbers, things are looking up for Glasnevin. The key to its success is the popularity of the tour guides whose enthusiasm is compelling, infectious and always tremendously well received. Their unique ability to transport you to another time, reliving the tales of the men and women who shaped modern Ireland, is legendary.
Here you will learn all about the harsh realities of life in Dublin, eavesdrop on the stories of former gravediggers, touch the casket of Daniel O’Connell, search the 1.5 online records to explore your family history, and visit the award winning museum, home to The City of the Dead, or simply ponder the fascinating lives of those who walked these streets before us.
With one and a half million stories buried in Glasnevin there’s no shortage of tales to tell. Delving into this rich resource Glasnevin captivates the curious through special events, tours, re-enactments, orations, lectures, festivals, commemorations, exhibitions, poetry readings, bringing legend to life in dramatic fashion. There really is something here for visitors of all ages.
Construction has begun on the winding wooden staircase that once ran up the centre the O’Connell tower monument in Glasnevin cemetery. The 168ft-high tower was bombed to pieces by loyalists in 1971.When completed visitors to the O’Connell round tower monument in Glasnevin cemetery will be able to climb to the top for the first time in over 40 years. Glasnevin is already 110ft above sea level, the view from the windows at the top of the tower spans from Meath to the Dublin Mountains, and up to mountain ranges in Louth.
The O’Connell building is a listed structure and the design will stay relatively faithful to the original staircase. The tower itself survived the blast, thanks to the three-foot-thick granite stones of its construction. However, with the windows and stairs blown out, it was sealed up, including the crypt at the bottom which contains the sarcophagus of Daniel O’Connell and the remains of several members of his family in a side chamber.
The landmark was one of three blown up by loyalists in Dublin in January 1971. These landmarks were considered icons of Irish nationalism – the Wolfe Tone statue in St. Stephen’s Green which was completely destroyed, the O’Connell statue on the city’s main thoroughfare, which survived; and the round tower in Glasnevin, built in memory of the Irish politician remembered as the ‘Great Liberator’.
The tower was built in the mid-1800s, around the same time as the Wellington Monument in Phoenix Park and Nelson’s Pillar on then-Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street). The building of the tower to commemorate O’Connell’s death, funded by public subscriptions and designed by George Petrie, was in some ways seen as a political move by some – a Catholic nationalist monument pointing to the sky. Building on the O’Connell round tower began in 1855 and finished in 1869.
The tower is a focal point in the cemetery which is considered the ‘national cemetery’, both because of its size and the number of its high-profile ‘residents’. These include Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera, Jim Larkin, Padraig Pearse, Constance Markievicz, Brendan Behan, Charles Stewart Parnell, Maud Gonne, Hannah Sheehy Skeffington and more.
Did you know?
– There are over 1.5 million people buried in Glasnevin’s Victorian Garden Cemetery
– The Daniel O’Connell round Tower monument is the tallest of its kind in Ireland
– A guided tour of the cemetery includes a visit to Daniel O’Connell’s crypt
– Glasnevin is home to the largest collection of Celtic crosses in the world
– Glasnevin won the 2013 Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Award and is consistently listed in the top 3 of best attractions in Dublin
– A pedestrian gateway between the world famous National Botanic Gardens and the Cemetery is open making it the second largest green space in Dublin with over 250 acres of mature parkland, and home to the largest collection of protected structures in the State.
– City Sightseeing Bus tours now provide a hop on hop off bus service from the city centre.
– Guided tours all year with additional summer times, re-enactments, and special events – see website
– A genealogy voucher worth €10.00 with every ticket. Search your family tree, all records online.
– Private and public tours available daily, special interest and educational groups welcome. Catering for ad hoc groups, private & public tours and serving breakfast, lunch & snacks throughout the day.
– Shop and café – Browse the terrific collection of Irish crafts, jewellery, mementos, historical books, and other interesting gift items in the museum shop.
A visit to Glasnevin is a must for anyone interested in the rich cultural texture of Dublin. Here the social, political and historical timeline of this great city is carved in stone and delivered by personable, well informed guides affording visitors a heightened sense of understanding, and a deeper appreciation of its never forgotten residents.
Address: Glasnevin Cemetery, Finglas Road, Dublin 11
Tel: 353 1-8826550
Open daily with 2 tours per day plus additional tours at 1 pm June – Sept & flexible times for pre-booked groups
Booking contact: Carolyn Kelly
Sales Manager: Ann Kilcoyne
Average Tour time: 1 hour
Guided Tours: Max 40 – 50, Languages: English, Irish, French, German.
A range of tailor made tours available
Exhibition: Irish Volunteers currently on view to end March 14.
Car and coach Parking: On site and street parking available