Glasnevin Cemetery (Irish: Reilig Ghlas Naíon), officially known as Prospect Cemetery, is the largest nondenominational cemetery in Ireland. It first opened in 1832 and is located in Glasnevin, Dublin.
Prior to the establishment of Glasnevin Cemetery, Irish Catholics had no cemeteries of their own in which to bury their dead and as the repressive Penal Laws of the eighteenth century placed heavy restrictions on the public performance of Catholic services, it had become normal practice for Catholics to conduct a limited version of their own funeral services in Protestant cemeteries. This situation continued until an incident at a funeral held at St. Kevin's Cemetery 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 outcry prompted Daniel O'Connell, champion of Catholic rights, to launch a campaign and 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 dignified burial.
The cemetery is located in Glasnevin, Dublin, in two parts. The main part, with its trademark high walls and watchtowers, is located on one side of the road from Finglas to the city centre, while the other part, "St. Paul's," is located across the road and beyond a green space, between two railway lines.
Glasnevin Cemetery contains many historically interesting monuments as well as the graves of many of Ireland's most prominent national figures - Pádraig Ó Domhnaill, Charles Stewart Parnell and Daniel O'Connell as well as Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, Maude Gonne, Kevin Barry, Sir Roger Casement, Charles Gavan Duffy, George Gavan Duffy, Constance Markiewicz, Brendan Behan, Seán MacBride, Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, Christy Brown, Frank Duff, Luke Kelly of the Dubliners. Boyzone singer Stephen Gately was cremated at Glasnevin Crematorium, which is located within the cemetery grounds, on October 17, 2009.
The cemetery also offers a view of the changing style of death monuments in Ireland over the last 200 years: from the austere, simple, high stone erections of the period up until the 1860s, to the elaborate Celtic crosses of the nationalistic revival from the 1860s to 1960s, to the plain Italian marble of the late twentieth century. Glasnevin Cemetery has grown from its original nine to over 120 acres (0.49 km2).
The high wall with watch-towers surrounding the main part of the cemetery was built to deter bodysnatchers, who were active in Dublin in the 18th and early 19th century. The watchmen also had a pack of blood-hounds who roamed the cemetery at night. Prime Minister, Robert Peel, when questioned in Parliament on the activities of the body-snatchers, admitted that it was, indeed, a "grave matter".
Glasnevin is one of the few cemeteries that allowed stillborn babies to be buried in consecrated ground and contains an area called the Angels Plot.
In 1982 a crematorium was constructed within the cemetery grounds by Glasnevin Trust. Since then, the service has been used for people of various religious denominations who wished to be cremated.
Glasnevin Cemetery is the setting for the "Hades" episode in James Joyce's Ulysses.
A list of notable people buried in Glasnevin Cemetery:
Patrick O'Donnell the Avenger - executed in 1883 in London for the assassination of the co-conspirator turncoat of the Phoenix Park murder, James Carey. A memorial in his honour stands in Glasnevin.
Thomas Ashe - died on hunger strike in 1917
Kevin Barry - a medical student executed by the British for his role in the Irish War of Independence. (His body was moved from Mountjoy Prison to Glasnevin in October 2001, having been accorded a state funeral.)
Harry Boland - friend of Michael Collins and anti-Treaty politician. Image of Harry Boland's grave
Christy Brown - writer of My Left Foot and subject of the film of the same name
Father Francis Browne - Jesuit priest and photographer who took the last known photographs of RMS Titanic
Cathal Brugha - first President of Dáil Éireann (January - April 1919) Image of Cathal Brugha's grave
Sir Roger Casement - Human rights campaigner turned Irish revolutionary, executed by the British in 1916.2 Image of Casement grave
Robert Erskine Childers - Irish republican and Treaty signatory executed by the Irish Free State government during the Irish Civil War. His grave, located in the Republican Plot.
J. J. Clancy - Irish Nationalist MP (1847-1928)
Michael Collins - assassinated republican leader, Anglo-Irish Treaty signatory & first internationally recognised Irish head of government.
Dáithí Ó Conaill - a founder member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army
Roddy Connolly - socialist politician and son of James Connolly.
Andy Cooney - Irish republican
John Philpot Curran - patriotic barrister, renowned wit, lawyer on behalf of Wolfe Tone and other United Irishmen, Sarah Curran's father.
William Dargan - Ireland's rail pioneer
Éamon de Valera - 3rd President of Ireland (1959-1973) and dominant leader of 20th century.
Sinéad de Valera - wife of Éamon de Valera, buried in the same plot.
Anne Devlin - famed housekeeper of Robert Emmet
John Devoy - Fenian leader. Image of John Devoy's grave.
John Blake Dillon - Irish writer and politician
Martin Doherty IRA member
Frank Duff - founder of the Legion of Mary
James Fitzmaurice - aviation pioneer
Edmund Dwyer Gray - Irish 19th century MP, son of Sir John Gray.
Sir John Gray - Irish 19th century MP. Image of Sir John Gray's gravestone
Maud Gonne - nationalist campaigner, love of W.B. Yeats's life, famed beauty and mother of Nobel & Lenin Peace Prize winner Seán MacBride, who is buried in the grave also. Image of Maud Gonne & Seán MacBride's grave
Arthur Griffith - President of Dáil Éireann (January - August 1922).
Joseph Patrick Haverty - Irish painter
Tim Healy - 1st Governor-General of the Irish Free State. image of Tim Healy's grave.
Denis Caulfield Heron - lawyer and politician
Gerard Manley Hopkins - poet
Peadar Kearney - composer of the Irish National Anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann
Luke Kelly - singer and folk musician, founding member of The Dubliners
Kitty Kiernan - fiancée of Michael Collins
James Larkin - Irish trade union leader and founder of the Irish Transport & General Workers Union (ITGWU).
Seán MacBride - founder of Clann na Poblachta and a founder-member of Amnesty International.
Edward MacCabe - late 19th century Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin & Primate of Ireland. Image of the elaborate monument to Cardinal MacCabe.
Dick McKee - prominent member of the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence.
Terence MacManus - Irish rebel and shipping agent.
James Patrick Mahon - Irish nationalist politician and mercenary.
Countess Constance Markiewicz - first woman elected to the British House of Commons and a minister in the first Irish government.
Manchester Martyrs - gravestone honouring three members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood known in history as the Manchester Martyrs who were in fact buried in the grounds of a British prison following their execution by the British.
Dermot Morgan - Irish satirist and star of Father Ted. He was cremated in Glasnevin but is buried in Deansgrange Cemetery.
Kate Cruise O'Brien - writer & publisher. This is not Kate O'Brien who is buried in Faversham Cemetery.
Daniel O'Connell - dominant Irish political leader from 1820s to 1840s. O'Connell's tomb under the specially built round tower O'Connell's tomb interior
Patrick Denis O'Donnell - well-known Irish military historian, writer, and former UN peace-keeper.
Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa - Fenian leader. Patrick Pearse's oration at his funeral in 1915 has gone down in history.
Eoin O'Duffy - Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army and leader of The Blueshirts.
Thomas O'Hagan, 1st Baron O'Hagan - Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
Kevin O'Higgins - assassinated Vice-President of the Executive Council.
Seán T. O'Kelly - 2nd President of Ireland (1945-1959).
John O'Mahony - a founder of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
John O' Leary (Fenian poet)
James O'Mara - nationalist leader and member of the First Dáil
Henry O'Neill - painter and archaeologist.
Charles Stewart Parnell - dominant Irish political leader from 1875 to 1891.
Patrick (P.J.) Ruttledge - Minister in Éamon de Valera's early governments.
Daniel D. Sheehan - first independent Irish labour MP.
Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington - founder of Irish Women's Franchise League
Patrick James Smyth Journalist and politician
David P. Tyndall - prominent Irish businessman who transformed the grocery business
William Joseph Walsh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin