Glasnevin Museum - Dublin

Glasnevin Cemetery is not where you might expect to find Ireland’s only Thea award winning visitor attraction and in fairness, not what I would normally recommend as a family day out? But this new museum is so good, it’s hard to put into words. Death is something we all have to face at some stage and far from being macabre or morbid, the Trust’s imaginative, sensitive and respectful handling of a difficult subject is to be applauded along with all the other accolades it has picked up since it opened in 2010. Every Dubliner has some connection with Glasnevin and their excellent new online genealogy service is helping people from all over the world retrace their Irish roots.

Over a million people have been buried there, many in unmarked graves, since it was founded in 1832 by Daniel O’Connell, who believed every citizen had a right to a proper burial regardless of their religion which is why it remains secular to this day. Modelled on the Pere Lachaise in Paris, it doubled as a pleasure garden in Victorian times with elaborate mausoleums and clipped yews lining the maze of pathways, which are in constant need of repair and upgrading which the Trust hopes to have completed for the anniversary of independence in 2016.

The new museum (just inside the main gates) is on 3 levels with the tour starting underground in the Necropolis (City of the Dead). A scrolling screen displays the names of all the people buried there on a loop which takes 10 hours to complete. There is a small theatre where the filmed introduction is shown and a charming, nostalgic display of items categorised by the professions of people that might once of owned them. Innovative displays (interactive headstones) lend a fascinating insight into the social history of Dublin, you can even eavesdrop on the gravediggers conversations.

Upstairs there are further interactive displays (with great views) including a 10 metre timeline with a detailed history of the great and good (and not so good) buried at Glasnevin and an exhibition about Daniel O'Connell. The iconic new building is stunning, with good facilities (of course) a shop and a nice restaurant.

For more information on Glasnevin Museum please click here

10 Other Things To Do and See in the area are...

1 The Gravediggers Arms pop through the gate in the back wall of the cemetery and have a pint in one of the oldest pubs in Dublin, good bar food as well.

2 National Botanic Gardens again just over the wall though you might prefer to walk around the corner to these wonderful old gardens ‘perambulators are not permitted’ which have just had a major revamp.

3 Adison Lodge Pub across the road used to be the only place to eat before the gardens got their own restaurant. I wonder do they still do those wonderful doorstep sandwiches?

4 Metrological Eireann is just down the road on the corner (unusual pyramid style building) you can stroll on down to Griffith Park or have a pint in Bertie Ahernes (former Taoiseach's)favourite pub Fagans on the corner?

5 Or head up to the other way to Phibsboro and the Porterhouse or Brian Boru’s both good ‘locals’ pubs.

6 Grand Canal take a walk along this revamped stretch of the canal a nice, quiet, watery oasis (with plenty of seats) on a good day.

7 Blessington Street Basin also known as Dublins secret garden which once supplied the water to Jamesons Distillery in Bow Street – (Senator David Norris gave me this tip - one of his favourite places this little park).

8 Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square where the Queen paid tribute this May to the fallen Irish.

9 Croke Park looms large just off the North Circular Rd (you cant miss it) its home to the all the GAA main fixture including the football and hurling all Ireland finals.

10 Aviva Stadium or if you kick with other foot (play rugby) you will no doubt be impressed with the new Landsdowne Rd venue, match tickets are pricey, though.

For more Things To Do and See in Dublin please click here

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