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A History of Irish Graveyards


Posted 20/02/2019

One of the best ways to gain an insight into Ireland’s wonderful history is through our country’s graveyards.  Ireland’s graveyards are some of the country’s most interesting and most visited sites.

Remembrance of our loved ones is a key part of Irish culture and you can see the care that people put in to the graves of their passed friends and families through Tony’s memorial walkthrough.  Many of the country’s most famous cemeteries are based in Dublin including Glasnevin Cemetery, Huegenot Cemetery and the Grangegorman Military Cemetery.

Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery is definitely the most well-known of Irish graveyards.  There are 1.5 million people buried on the 124 acre site.  This includes many of Ireland’s most famous historical figures such as Michael Collins, Countess Constance Markievicz and Brendan Behan.

It was Ireland’s first non-denominational graveyard founded by Daniel O’Connell and was opened in 1832.  His final resting place is marked by a 168ft round tower in the middle of the cemetery.  Within is a crypt containing O’Connell’s sarcophagus, this can be visited as part of the Glasnevin tour.  It is said to be good luck to touch the foot of O’Connell’s casket.

The Glasnevin Trust have developed an interactive map which allows you to view where some of the most well-known residents of the cemetery are buried.

Huegenot Cemetery
Huegenot Cemetery is in the middle of Dublin city centre just off the famous St. Stephen’s Green.  It is no longer open to the public but it is still a popular site to visit.  This cemetery dates back to 1693 and those buried there are descendants of the Huegenots who fled persecution in France in the 16th Century.

The manicured gardens can still be viewed through the cemetery gates and a plaque bearing the names of the 293 people buried there can be found on the wall outside. The last burial here was in 1901.

Grangegorman Military Cemetery
This cemetery is based beside Phoenix Park in the centre of Dublin.  It is the final resting for many of the British military personnel who were stationed in Ireland.  There is a monument to all Irish soldiers who died in World War I at the The Irish National War Memorial a short walk away in Islandbridge.

The last burial took place here in 1999.  The cemetery is regarded as one of the most interesting sites in the country.

The Irish Graveyard
As mentioned already there is great culture of remembrance in Ireland.  Cemeteries and graves are looked after with the utmost love and attention.  Below we have a video walkthrough of Calvary Graveyard in Portumna, Co. Galway.  This is where all of Eternally Irish owner Tony Williams’ ancestors and family are buried.  It is similar to graveyards across all small towns in Ireland. 

You can see that the graveyard is well kept with graves dating back to famine times.