The Irish created Halloween, and death has always held a fascination for them. On the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which runs from sundown on October 31 to sundown on November 1, the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest.
Here’s where some of Ireland’s brightest spirits are buried:
1. William Butler Yeats
In the shadow of Ben Bulben mountain in Sligo, in a small country graveyard. His epitaph reads, “Cast a cold Eye on Life, on Death. Horseman, pass by.”
2. Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde's tomb is located in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France. It took nine to ten months to complete the grave which includes an Egyptian sphinx motif by sculptor Jacob Epstein, a plinth by Charles Holden and inscription carved by Joseph Cribb. It is traditional for his admirers to put on lipstick and kiss his grave.
3. James Joyce
James Joyce is buried in Zurich. In 1941, the self-exiled Joyce, who had left Ireland in 1902, died after undergoing ulcer surgery in Switzerland.
He was buried there in the Fluntern Cemetery. Though Joyce's wife Nora tried to move her husband's body to Ireland after the burial, the Irish government denied the request. Joyce's body resides in a grave alongside his wife and son, watched over by a small statue of the writer. An inscription by the statue reads, “He lived, he laughed, he loved, he left.”
Buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin under a large cross with a Gaelic inscription. His funeral procession was three miles in length. He still receives Valentine cards from female admirers every year.
5. Countess Markievicz
The 1916 hero remained a revolutionary all her life. When she died, 300,000 people attended her removal to Glasnevin Cemetery. "Her life will be cherished," said Reginald Roper in a eulogy, “by those who were starving, those whose rents she paid, those to whom she carried sacks of coal on her shoulders."
6. George Bernard Shaw
One of the world's great playwrights. He was cremated and his ashes scattered and mixed with those of his wife at their home in Shaws Corner in Ayot Saint Lawrence in Hertfordshire, England.
The Nobel Laureate is buried in a quiet corner in the family plot at Bellaghy Cemetery, Bellaghy, County Derry, in Northern Ireland with his parents and brother.
His wife Susanna died on July 17, 1989. He was heartbroken, and confined to a nursing home and suffering from emphysema and possibly Parkinson's disease. He died on December 22. The two were interred together in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris and share a simple granite gravestone that follows Beckett's directive that it should be "any color, so long as it's grey."
9. Charles Stewart Parnell
Though an Anglican, he was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin on October 11, 1891. His funeral was attended by more than 200,000 people. His notability was such that his gravestone of unhewn Wicklow granite, erected in 1940, reads only "Parnell."
10. Daniel O’Connell
“The Liberator” is also in Glasnevin with the tallest structure in the cemetery – a round tower over his grave. George Petrie, the leading archaeologist of the time was given the task of a major memorial.
His vision was to recreate the core structures of an early Christian Irish monastic site, the Round Tower, Church and High Cross. O’Connell was interred in the crypt, which took the form of a circular barrow or burial mound enclosed by a ditch which provided access to the crypt beneath. Atop the barrow a massive 167ft Round Tower was constructed, the largest ever built in Ireland.
However, Petrie’s original plan was not fully realized as the whole plan was not completed. The mortuary chapel was not built until 1870 and the High Cross was never completed.
*Originally published in October 2014.