Wittily dubbed “Croak Park” by local wags, over 1.5 million people are buried here. Visit the graves of famous people and hear about Irish history on a guided tour. Trace your roots in the Genealogy Area (all the records are available online at www.glasnevintrust.ie/genealogy).
The highly popular Irish History tour gives an insight into Victorian and later times. Visit the final resting place of men and women who have helped shape Ireland’s past and present, such as Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Maud Gonne and Roger Casement. Explore the high walls and watchtowers surrounding Glasnevin and learn about the colourful history of Dublin’s grave robbers.
A particularly dramatic attraction is the once-a-day re-enactment of famous speeches (e.g. Patrick Pearse delivering the graveside oration at Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral or James Larkin’s famous speech made at the front gates of Mountjoy Prison). These take place at 2.30 pm every day.
Padraig Pearse’s 1915 oration [“The Fools, the Fools, the Fools! – they have left us our Fenian dead – And while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace”] roused Irish republican feeling and was a significant element in the lead-up to the Easter Rising of 1916.
Museum attractions include the City of the Dead (an exhibition covering the burial practices and meticulous record-keeping regarding the 1,500,000 people buried in Glasnevin); the Religion Wall (illustrating different beliefs about the after-life); the Milestone Gallery (which houses a succession of special exhibitions on key historical figures, starting with Glasnevin’s founder, Daniel O’Connell); and the Timeline (a 10- metre long digitally interactive table containing details of the lives and relationships of hundreds of the most famous people buried here).
You can now climb the O’Connell Tower – Ireland’s tallest round tower – for the first time in over 45 years. As you pass through the ornate crypt of Daniel O’Connell, you begin the journey to the top of the monument built in his honour. After a comprehensive restoration programme, the staircase in the tower is now accessible, complete with an exhibition about the legendary figure himself and the fascinating history of the tower. Once at the top, you will enjoy 360 degree panoramic views of the sprawling grounds of the cemetery, the city of Dublin, Wicklow and the Irish Sea (see www.dctrust.ie AND www.dctrust.ie).
An article in the Irish Times weekend magazine in November 2021 contained a number of surprising facts about Glasnevin Cemetery.
There are more people buried in Glasnevin Cemetery (1,500,000) than there are currently alive in Dublin. 800,000 of these people are buried in “poor ground” or unpurchased graves.
Glasnevin Cemetery was founded by Daniel O’Connell in 1832. As noted in the book “Dead Interesting: Stories from the Graveyards of Dublin” (by Shane MacThomáis), the guiding principle behind the establishment of the cemetery was that those with no money at the end of their days would be able to find a place to be buried (whether from workhouses, tenements, Magdalene laundries or industrial schools). A plot for those who cannot afford a burial still exists today.
One more anecdote – when the famous political leader, Charles Stewart Parnell, was buried, his coffin left City Hall at midday. But his burial had to take place under moonlight such was the extraordinary number of mourners who turned out to pay their respects.
When planning a visit to the Cemetery, remember that you can now access the Botanic Gardens via the cemetery. A gate access to the “Botanics” from within the cemetery has been re-opened. The gate is located along the wall at the far side of Glasnevin Cemetery (the Prospect Square entrance).
Open 10am – 5pm, 7 days a week.
A variety of tours and exhibitions are available, which may change seasonally.
The signature attraction is the Irish History Tour, with optional addition of the O’Connell Tower Climb. This tour is subject to availability, but usually starts at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm. Booking is recommended.
Women in History Tour available on the last Sunday of the month at 1.00 pm.
Self-Guided and audio tours also available.
Trace your roots in the Genealogy Area (all the records are available online at dctrust.ie/genealogy/home).
There is limited car parking space on the main road opposite the cemetery. However, a convenient but hard to find car park is available within the housing estate opposite the cemetery (a fee is payable as you leave this car park).