The foundation of the cemetery is linked to the movements towards religious and national liberty with which Daniel O'Connell was involved. At that time it was difficult and expensive for Catholics to have their burials conducted under their own spiritual rites and services. To rectify this, O'Connell's supporters first organised the opening of the Golden Bridge Cemetery in Inchicore in 1828. In 1832 the first burial took place at Prospect Cemetery, which was to grow into the great national cemetery here at Glasnevin. From the earliest years the cemetery has been open to and used by all, regardless of religion, nationality or political affiliation. Surrounded by high walls and watch-towers to deter graverobbers, the original nine acres were at a junction between roads leading to the then villages of Glasnevin and Finglas. Toll gates were in operation here and, to avoid this, O'Connell organised the construction of a new road bypassing the tolls. This, Prospect Avenue, led to the earlier gateway which remained in use until that on the Finglas Road opened in 1879. The chapel was completed in the same year. Over the following years the cemetery has grown to its present size of 124 acres containing over 900,000 interments.


The dominant monument in the cemetery is the round tower in memory of Daniel O'Connell. Completed in 1861, it is the tallest in Ireland at 168 feet (51 metres). The tower was originally intended to be one of a group of buildings representative of early Irish Christian architecture. That plan, by the noted antiquarian George Petrie, was not completed as construction of the tower used up the available £500. However, the later chapel is modelled on the plan of that of Cormac's Chapel on the Rock of Cashel. Throughout the cemetery the use of Celtic motifs, particularly that of the Celtic Cross as memorial, is notable. Very many of the crosses are extremely fine structures. Predominantly Victorian and Edwardian in character, the older parts of the cemetery show a very fine range of monuments of every shape and style.


The cemetery is the resting place for many of those responsible for the emergence of modern Ireland, for the establishment of political independence and the reawakening of national consciousness. The revolutionary spirit in Ireland has a long history, and a long memory. Many buried here, no matter how long dead, are still potent forces in continuing ideological struggles. But beyond such politics now are certain great and indisputable leaders, revolutionaries, scholars, poets and social activists. Their graves are shrines which all Irish people can cherish.

From Fact Pack Guide to GLASNEVIN CEMETERY , Morrigan Books

1. Daniel O'Connell
2. Cardinal MacCabe
3. Charles Stewart Parnell
4. Gerald Manley Hopkins
5. Eamon de Velara
6. Frank Ryan
7. James Larkin
 8. Republican Plot
Maud Gonne MacBride
Cathal Brugha
Countess Markievicz
Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa

9. Alfred Chester Beatty
10.Ann Devlin
11. John Keegan Casey
12. Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington
13. Brendan Behan
14. Frank Duff
15. Michael Collins
16. Roger Casement

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