Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum

Ireland’s most notable burial ground has got to be Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. It is the first burial ground in Ireland in which both Irish Catholics and Protestants could bury their dead. Prior to the establishment of Glasnevin Cemetery, Irish Catholics had no graveyards of their own where they could lay their dead to rest and, as the repressive Penal Laws of the 18th century placed heavy restrictions on public performance of Catholic services, it had become normal practice for Catholics to conduct a limited version of their own funeral services in Protestant graveyards. This 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 uproar prompted Daniel O’Connell, dominant Irish political leader from 1820’s to 1840’s and one of Ireland’s most important historical figures who championed the rights of Irish Catholics, to launch a campaign to 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 a dignified burial, leading to the establishment of Glasnevin Cemetery.

Glasnevin is the final resting place of some of Ireland’s most extraordinary people. Among them, Daniel O’Connell himself. His crypt is marked with a round tower, built to commemorate O’Connell who established the cemetery in 1832.

Others buried in the cemetery include important political figures, Charles Stewart Parnell, dominant Irish political leader from 1875-1891, Michael Collins, assassinated republican leader and Emaon De Valera, 3rd President of Ireland.

Also buried at Glasnevin are Brendan Behan, Author and Playwright, Christy Brown, writer of My Left Foot and subject of the film of the same name. Fr. Francis Browne, Jesuit priest and photographer who took the last known photographs of RMS Titanic and Dermot Morgan, comedian and star of the TV series Father Ted. He was cremated in Glasnevin but is buried in Deansgrange Cemetery.

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