No trip to Dublin is complete without visiting Glasnevin Cemetery, one of the most beautiful and historically significant sites in all of Ireland. There you can immerse yourself in Irish history and even discover secrets about your own ancestry. 

Dublin is synonymous with good times and good Guinness but it is also a city dripping in historical significance.  On almost every corner, statues in the likeness of those who fought for Ireland’s independence and those who wove the cultural fabric of the state can be found.  

Many stations, places and streets are named after these people too, like O’Connell Street, one of the main streets in central Dublin. O’Connell refers to Daniel O’Connell, the legendary statesman who founded Glasnevin Cemetery.

Modeled on the renowned Pére La Chaise cemetery in Paris, Glasnevin was established in 1832. The mission of its founders was to ‘bury people of all religions and none with dignity and respect’.  The cemetery is still in operation today, and since the 1800s it has become one of the most historically significant sites in Ireland. 

Touring Glasnevin. Photo: Glasnevin Trust

Touring Glasnevin. Photo: Glasnevin Trust

Heroes who shaped the nation such as Charles Stewart Parnell, Éamon de Valera, Michael Collins, Constance Markievicz and Maud Gonne are buried there. Cultural heavyweights such as Brendan Behan and Luke Kelly have also been laid to rest in the cemetery. A museum opened on-site in 2010, featuring exhibitions and tours that introduce people from far and wide to the lives of these iconic figures. The beautiful monuments, cared for as part of an ongoing restoration project, provide a stunning backdrop in which to hear incredible storytelling from talented guides who bring history to life.  

The path to O'Connell Tower in Glasnevin. Photo: Brian Morrison

The path to O'Connell Tower in Glasnevin. Photo: Brian Morrison

Visitors can also enjoy a climb up the O’Connell Tower. This is the tallest round tower in Ireland and, as you may have guessed, it was built in honor of the cemetery’s founder, Daniel O’Connell. Inside the structure, you will find the ornate crypt where O’Connell was laid to rest. 198 steps take you from base to summit where 360 degree, panoramic views of Dublin and the surrounding areas await. This access to the tower is still new and exciting. In 1971, a bomb was placed at inside the tower, taking out the staircase. Fortunately nobody was injured during the explosion; however, it did result in the Tower being closed for almost 50 years until April 2018, when it was officially reopened to the public. 

Exploring the crypt of O'Connell Tower. Photo: Glasnevin Trust

Exploring the crypt of O'Connell Tower. Photo: Glasnevin Trust

There are over 1.6 million people buried in Glasnevin Cemetery -- that’s more than the current population of Dublin. The burial records for all of these people have been maintained and on a visit, people can consult Glasnevin's resident genealogist to discover more about their own family history. People from all over the world have found relatives here and can be brought to the resting place of their ancestors if they wish. 

There is also a café on-site and gift shop which stocks an array of high-quality, Irish products. 

Constantly receiving 5-star reviews on Trip Advisor, a trip to Glasnevin Cemetery is a must for your Dublin 2020 itinerary.  It is located just under 2 miles from Dublin city center and it is accessible by a multitude of bus routes and train from the city center, or by just over half an hour's walk on foot. You can make a day out of a trip to Glasnevin Cemetery, leaving time to explore the stunning National Botanic Gardens and have a pint at the legendary Gravediggers Pub right next door.  

Learn more at www.glasnevinmusuem.ie 

Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery is one of the most historically significant sites in all of Ireland. Brian Morrison