[The following passage comes from an article in the September 1878 issue of the The Graphic. — George P. Landow]

Glasnevin is the Campo Santo of Ireland. Here the remains of the orators, statesmen, and patriots who during the past fifty years have won the affections of their native land, and the respect of the world, have found a quiet resting place. The cemetery, which is about two miles north from Sackville Street, was established through the instrumentality of Daniel O’Connell and the Catholic Association. A piece of ground, only 3 1/2 acres in extent, was bought at Golden Bridge for the interment of Catholics, but in a short time, finding this too small, the Association bought twelve acres of the present cemetery, and gradually extended it, till it now contains fifty-nine acres. On entering the enclosure by the old gateway numerous long avenues crossing each other in all directions, planted with dwarf Irish oak, cellar, and palm trees meet the eye. Curran Square, so called because the remains of John Philnot Curran are placed here, borders on the gateway. Curran's monument is very beautiful, and is a facsimile, by Papworth, of the square sarco- phagus over the Scipio family at Rome. Here also are the tombs of Edward Kuthven, M.P., and Lord Chief Justice Monahan. On the Long Walk, in a bare spot of ground, the grass being worn away, sixteen feet square, lie the bodies of Terence Bellew McManus, Colonel O'Mahony, and Sergeant McCarthy. The vista shown by this walk is very beautiful, and Mr. Gladstone during his visit expressed his admiration of the scene. On one of the cross walks is n plain monument commemorating the fidelity and virtues of Anne Devlin, the faithful servant of Robert Emmett, who could neither be bribed, nor forced, to yield up the hiding place of her master. A magnificent Celtic cross, the largest in Ireland, marks the last resting-place of John B. Dillon, M.P. for Tipperary, Just opposite this the tomb of Eugene O'Curry, one of the compilers of the annals of the Four Masters, is marked with a very handsome Celtic cross, but how different have the remains of another and the chief of the compilers been treated by the public! The body of John O'Donovan. LL. D., lies in the old O’Connell Circle without a sign to show its last resting-place.

Advancing to the new O'Connell Circle, on the right hand side is the cenotaph in memory of Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien, the “Manchester Martyrs.” Before entering O'Connell's crypt, underneath the Round Tower erected to his memory, there stand three monuments sacred to the memory of Monsignore Yore, Dr. Spralt, the great temperance advocate, and “Honest Tom Steele," the faithful friend and supporter of O’Connell. The remains of the late Sir John Gray, who was a Protestant, lie in No. 8 vault, in the O’Connell Circle, but it is intended to remove them, and place them beside Monsignore Yore's monument. The crypt is the grent object of interest. O’Connell's remains were left in the old O’Connell Circle for twenty-five years and were only placed where they now rest in 1869. The tower has an elevation of 150 feet. The crypt beneath it is tastefully decorated and coloured and on the walls arc the patriot’s famous words, “My heart to Rome, my body to Ireland, my soul to heaven.” At the east of the lower is the tomb of William Dargan, the Irish Railway King and the promoter of the Dublin Exhibition of 1853. It may be mentioned that the Emperor of Brazil, on seeing O’Connell’s sarcophagus, said it was fit for a monarch, and his aide-de-camp, at His Majesty's express wish, collected some grass and daisies from the mound surrounding the tower, for the Emperor to keep as mementoes. The new Mortuary Chapel erected at the back of the lower, but which will be in front when the entrance on the Finglas Road is finished, is a fine piece of sculpture. It is built of Dalkey granite and carved in Romanesque, in the style of ancient Irish architecture, the eaves being supported by the heads of Irish and English kings. The most simple tomb in the cemetery, and yet one which appeals keenly to the senses, is that of John Hogan, the sculptor. It is a plain marble slab, with only the words “John Hogan” upon it. Another inte- resting monument is the unassuming stone marking the grave of thegreat scholar, James Clarence Mangan, who died 21st June, 1849.

There are five old watch-towers in the walls encircling the cemetery, which were erected for men to watch the graves during the time when body-snatching was carried on. Another reminiscence of this period is an old dog yard, where the committee kept, as late as 1852, a pack of bloodhounds which were let out in the grounds at night.


“Dublin Illustrated.” The Graphic (17 August 1878): 169-81. Internet Archive online version of a copy in the University of Illinois Library. Web. 14 August 2018.

Last modified 14 August 2018