Heritage Tour 2017 - Glasnevin Cemetery and Kilmainham Gaol

Glasnevin Cemetery and Kilmainham Gaol

Bernadette Forde

Killererin Heritage Society hosted a tour to Glasnevin Cemetery and Kilmainham Gaol on Saturday 15th July, 2017.  We left Barnaderg  at 7.45 a.m. and headed straight for Glasnevin cemetery.  Our tour began shortly after arrival and so the day began.

Glasnevin Cemetery

Our guide proved most entertaining and kept the attention of all present both young and old. He began by explaining the origins of Glasnevin cemetery which was founded in 1832 by Daniel O’Connell and open to people of all faiths  Over 1.5 million people have been buried there, but the graves we visited were:

Roger Casement

The tour began at the grave of Roger Casement who was a British diplomat but he became weary of imperialism and eventually became a humanitarian activist, Irish nationalist, and poet. After retiring from the Foreign Office in 1913, he became more involved in Irish republicanism and sought German support and weapons for the Irish rebellion. He was arrested while trying to land these weapons on Banna Strand, Co. Kerry and charged with treason. He was executed at Pentonville prison, on 3rd August, 1916.


Daniel O’Connell

Our next stop was the tomb of Daniel O’Connell, otherwise known as “The Liberator” and the political leader who founded the cemetery.    He fought for emancipation for the Irish people and died in Genoa on 15th May, 1847 on his way to Rome.

Many of his relatives are buried in the tomb with him and their coffins were clearly visible in an alcove to the side of the tomb. The tomb was bombed by Loyalists in 1971 and currently efforts are being made to reconstruct the staircase of the tower underneath where the tomb  is located.


Michael Collins

Michael Collins or the Big Fella ashe was affectionately known was famously killed in his native county Cork at Béal na Bláth, not long after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1922.  The Treaty led to the country being divided in two with disastrous results for future generations.

He was a member of the First Dáil of 1919 and the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Subsequently, he was both Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army.

He still has flowers put on his grave almost 100 years later.


James Larkin

Trade Union activist, James Larkin, also known as ‘Big Jim Larkin’ is also buried in Glasnevin cemetery.  Larkin moved to Belfast in 1907 and founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, the Irish Labour Party, and later the Workers’ Union of Ireland. He was best known for his role in the 1913 Dublin Lockout,

Maud Gonne

Maud Gonne was a revolutionary and muse of famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats. http://www.glasnevintrust.ie/visit-glasnevin/interactive-map/maud-gonne-macbride/

Eamon deValera

Eamon deValera and his wife Sinead who was famous in her own right as an author of childrens’ books.  Eamon deValera was President of the first Dail in 1919, and then President of the Irish Republic in 1921. He opposed the Treaty and resigned when it was later ratified.


Lt. Kevin Gleeson

Last but not least, at our request he took us to see the burial place of Lt. Kevin Gleeson who is a  cousin of Dom Dunleavy who was on the tour with us, fought in the Congo and died in an ambush there along with eight others in 1960.

See his story elsewhere on this website under the category People and entitled ‘Memories of a brave Irish Soldier and his links to Barbersfort House.’

Kilmainham Gaol

We then proceeded to Kilmainham Gaol where we had our lunch on the premises before beginning our tour.  We were divided into two groups and each group was given a tour and taken to the same areas within the prison.  This was a very informative, enlightening and thought provoking tour of the Gaol and we were shown the cells of the 1916 leaders and the yard where they were executed.

We were taken into a cell of one of the women prisoners where the graffiti written by her, remains on the walls.  Slogans such as Cuman na mBan and Suíochán for peace etc. were clearly visible displaying her defiance to the end.

The tour was very informative and the information provided gave us plenty of food for thought on our way home.  It was a timely reminder of the sacrifices made by very young men and women of that era, which allows us the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today.






This page was added on 19/07/2017.

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