Spreading the word about the Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

The Glasnevin Cemetery Trust and Tourism Ireland is proud of an array of new features, tours, and sites that have made Glasnevin Cemetery one of Dublin’s most popular tourist destinations.

At a meeting held recently at the Boston College Club in Boston, Ann Kilcoyne, the Trust’s sales and marketing director, described how Glasnevin, in the city’s Northside at Finglas Road, is truly “both the guardian and storyteller for over 1.5 million people” [the number of men, women, and children who repose there]. Kilcoyne and Jean McCluskey of Tourism Ireland have been spreading the word about Glasnevin here in the US.

Glasnevin’s mission is one that strives to make the stories of those laid to rest beneath the simplest stones and also that of the man whose crypt is housed within a spectacular round tower: Daniel O’Connell, “The Liberator.

Kilcoyne described how those stories at Glasnevin range “from the ordinary to the truly extraordinary” and tell how “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.”

The Trust is justifiably proud that the Glasnevin Museum is the world’s first cemetery museum. The natural beauty of the grounds merges with a who’s who of Irish history through which experienced, knowledgeable, and entertaining guides take visitors on a moving and memorable journey through the impeccably preserved Victorian cemetery.

One can choose any number of themed tours – from one focusing on the men and women of the 1916 Easter Rising and featuring such unique touches as the Padraig Pearse Oration Reenactment to others that provide personal connections to the final resting places of the men and women who have carved out Ireland’s past and present.

One of the most popular attractions is the Botanic Gardens, a spectacular 19th-century site that visitors reach via the gate at the wall framing the far side of Glasnevin Cemetery, Prospect Square entrance. The Trust notes that “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.”

In 1832, Daniel O’Connell opened Glasnevin as a place of repose where people “of all religions and none…could be buried with dignity and respect.” The museum’s interactive genealogy search tools allow visitors to find information about the cemetery’s 1.5 million people, whether famous or not.

Glasnevin is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (5 p.m. in winter), with public and private tours daily starting at 9:30 a.m. There is bus service from O’Connell Street to Glasnevin, as well as Dublin Sightseeing Hop on Hop Off (Blue Route) every 30 minutes. The site’s restaurant, the Tower Café, offers a perfect spot for a varied menu now including an Irish Breakfast for early visitors.

(Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Finglas Road, Dublin 11; tel. 01 882 6550; glasnevincemetery.ie; museum@glasnevintrust.ie).