Glasnevin Cemetery is the largest and best known of all the burial places of Ireland. 'Radharc' presents a short history of the beginnings of the graveyard.
Glasnevin Cemetery owes its existence to the 19th century Irish political leader Daniel O’Connell whose Irish round tower is the most famous of the graveyard monuments.
The cemetery’s strong gates, watchtowers and battlemented walls around the circumference of the graveyard were highly necessary in the days of the body snatchers. These men raided the graves for newly buried bodies to sell to surgeons.
Glasnevin initially came into being because Catholics were having difficulty getting a Catholic burial. However the cemetery grew to become popular for Catholics and Protestants alike. Many of those buried there were simple, humble folk, such as Michael Carey the first person ever interred in the cemetery on 22 February 1832.
Daniel O’Connell himself was buried in the cemetery on 5 August 1847. His remains were exhumed and re-interred in a crypt beneath the round tower on 14 May 1869. In stark contrast to the grandeur of O’Connell’s round tower is the grave of the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party Charles Stewart Parnell. His only monument, a boulder from his native Wicklow mountains.
This episode of 'Radharc' was broadcast on 19 November 1965.