Yesterday, myself and Mr. Fluffy Tufts decided to play at being tourists in our own city! Unfortunately, Dublin is not very dog-friendly so that meant the four-legged creatures had to stay at home. They enjoyed a morning walk and by the time we left, The Lads were snoozing on the couch in the living room. Shelli likes to potter around the rest of the house, and can usually be found curled up at the end of our bed.
It seemed a bit morbid to think of a cemetery as a tourist attraction, but I had heard that there’s a very interesting visitor’s centre, so we thought we’d check it out. On arrival, we chose the option of a walking tour and entrance to the Glasnevin Museum for 10 euro. There is a walking tour with a real-life guide once daily at 2.30pm or alternatively, you can take a self-guided mp3 tour.
Glasnevin Cemetery was opened in 1832 and is the final resting place for 1.5 million people. Sadly, we learned that over 700,000 of these were buried in unmarked pauper’s graves.
Highlights of the tour for us was seeing the very first grave at the cemetery and hearing about the grave-robbers who attempted to steal freshly buried corpses for anatomical use at medical schools.
At one time, grave-robbing was so prolific at the cemetery that a watchtower was built.
Armed guards were instructed to shoot any potential ressurectionists! Ironically, the bodies of those shot were more than likely sold to the very medical research facilities that they had been stealing corpses for in the first place!
Many of the older graves have sunk and their headstones have become damaged and displaced. There is an extensive project taking place with the view to restoring these to their original state.
Whilst we were suitably impressed with the walking tour, we found the museum itself to be quite disappointing. It was laid out well but almost all the information had already been given to us on the walking tour.
We did enjoy reading about the different customs and beliefs surrounding death and the after-life. There was also a display of artefacts belonging to some of the people buried at the cemetery.
The museum only took about fifteen minutes to work through and we would have been very disappointed had we not also chosen to take the walking tour.
I do think that Glasnevin Cemetery is worth a visit (we certainly enjoyed our few hours there), though I would probably advise that visitors just take the walking tour. More information can be found here: Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum
Check back tomorrow for Part Two of this post which will be about the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland.