Death is never a happy topic, but it can be fascinating.
Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin is a huge tourist attraction. And right across from the front entrance, is another attraction, called the Gravediggers Bar.
Okay, it’s actually called John Kavanagh's Gravediggers Bar and it was a shrewd move by John Kavanagh in 1833. Not only did he open a bar there that brought in mourners and serviced gravediggers who worked at the cemetery daily, but he bought up the land around it so no one could compete for his business.
And to this day it looks just like it did when he opened it, except the lanterns have been replaced with electric lights.
The fire is always lit, no matter the weather. The old wooden swinging doors creak each time someone enters. The old wooden bar looms along the wall and is almost always packed. The old wooden benches are originals.
And the sunbeams stream through the dusty room giving it an eternally spooky feeling. Seriously, if you close your eyes and listen it could be a hundred years ago; people talking, chatting, pouring whiskey and pints. Then you open your eyes and it looks just as old with the sunbeams almost cutting through time.
Kavanagh’s Gravediggers is known for being where the gravediggers would stop and have a few pints mid-day, so it became a problem and they closed the gates off.
But diggers and servers got around that by cutting a hole in the rock wall just big enough for a shovel to pass through and to bring back a pint, balanced just so.
Today it’s more tourists than actual mourners. But Kavanagh's is open every day for those who need it.
You can hear all about Glasnevin Cemetery, Kavanagh’s Gravediggers Bar, the role graverobbers played in Ireland, and how Ireland honors the newly-dead, daily, in Episode #37 of Erin’s Isle. Just click on this link.
Read more: Five amazing things to do in Dublin
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