There are 1.5 million people buried at Glasnevin cemetery – that’s more Dubliners than there are alive today. Ireland’s historical giants and nameless cholera victims alike sleep the sleep of ages in this grassy sprawl, with Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Collins among Glasnevin’s most famous residents. The history here is so rich and dense, it absolutely pays to take a tour with one of the guides – and almost two hours later, you’ll still have barely scratched the surface.
Exquisitely crafted tombstones held my attention long after our tour ended. Because Ireland is rich in limestone, many of the graves are marked with gorgeous, intricate carvings (Celtic knots, somber angels, delicate flowers), which look just like melting ice cream – limestone is partially soluble and erodes beautifully. Some of these tombs house multiple generations and date from modern time all the way back to the 1800s, creating a striking sense of perspective between the idle cenotaphs and trees swaying in the summer breeze.
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