Had a slow start to the day today as i slept in.. Lina had suggested i visit rhe Glasnevin Cemetery so i took a look at the map and found it was about 30 mins walk away. With water and backpack i set off down Finglas Rd toward the city.
I dont know a lot about Irish history and was in for a treat at the cemetery. They have a museum that is really infotmative. It has an exhibition with photos and history vignettes.
But it was a young man called Christopher who bought it all to life.
Daniel O’Connell was the first port of call.
A man buried in a crypt under a tower.
With his family beside him, surrounded by 42 other crypts of people who wanted to be near him. Each of these families paid the equivalent of 100,000 euro for the honour and paid for the tower that stands atop the crypt. We went into the crypt and stood alongside the families coffins. Daniel was a man who did not believe in violence and was respected internationally. His final wish was that his body should got to Ireland, his heart to Rome and his soul to heaven. Unsure of how to take this they took him literally. So his body is in the coffin in the crypt. His heart went in a silver casket to Rome and his soul hopefully to heaven. They say it is good luck to touch the coffin… so i did!!
There is an air of pride when they talk of those who lost tgeir lives in the struggles in Ireland. There were many young men who piad tge ultimate price for freedom from the realm.
Michael Collins is another whos grave is constantly adorned with fresh flowers.
Our young tour guide was passionate about this history anfd his own connection to it. I would most definitely recommend a visit here, but be sure to allocate a day as it is epic with over 1.6 million graves! I could have walked and read headstones all day.
The entire cemetery is surrounded by walls with 7 watchtowers that wrre manned by men with guns who had orders to shoot to kill. Such was the value of a frezh body to the schools of anatomy that body snatching was big business. 4 bodies would earn the equivalent of a years salary…
Funny moment i was waiting in line for a cup of hot chocolate and the elderly chap in front of me said hello and asked where i was from… Pert ,Western Australia i say. Oh he says my brother lives in Mt Helena, oh i laugh and say i deliveted parcels there almost 10 years ago.. we laughed.. small world!
He then said that if i walked to the back wall of the cemetery i would find a gate that leads to the botanical gardens. So revived by my hot chocolate i set off. Its quite a walk to the back of the cemetery but worth every step. The gardens are like stepping back in time with beautiful glass houses.
So it is that my time in Ireland is at an end and tomorrow i head to Vienna. But rest assured of one thing, Ireland i will be back for it is so beautiful here it will call to me from tbe other side of the world i am sure…
Peace and light xxx