Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
As I approached Glasnevin Cemetery the sun began to break through the large conifers that hang over our dead generations like brooding hens hang over and protect their baby chicks. The sun rays made no discrimination between the polished granite headstones of the middle classes and the plastic pipe surrounds of the underclass. Each grave marked out in desperation as families try to remember their loved ones, loved ones often displaced in the pushing and shoving of decaying and dying bouquets of remembrance, this place like the living world over populated and the majority starved of their fair share. A large black cat stepped gently over family tributes until it found a resting place, to bask in the sun rays that were beaming of a little stone slab that marked the grave of a little boy. I wondered if the cat had known the little boy who lay now protected by the aching limbs of the large oak that stood above him. In the distance I could hear children laugh and shout as they enjoyed their new found freedom from school for the summer recess. Glasnevin has recently been furnished with a Crematorium, Florists and Café. People in fine suits and dresses visit their loved ones and they stand uneasily beside small groups of the less well off, as all remember their loved ones. I visit the tomb of the great Daniel O’ Connell, the steel gate was not open, but the inscription appeared to read, I give my life to Ireland and my heart to Rome. I wondered what that great Irish man would think of Rome today.
I looked at some of the great monuments and history in Glasnevin with uncertainty, I was overwhelmed by the contrast of the graves of little children marked by no more than a couple of Euro worth of plastic piping from Woodies and these great monuments worth vast sums of money to bishops and cardinals. Fine cars rolled into the car park and before long the smell of coffee and freshly baked muffins replaced the smell of dampness and death that had filled the morning air. God bless the little people both in life and death, which were my thoughts as I left behind our departed generations. I took great interest as I read the plaque that hangs on the wall beneath the watch towers at Glasnevin, where it is explained that those on duty at the watch towers in 1840 had stopped body snatchers from taking bodies for medical research. I wondered how that might all have been.
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Glasnevin Museum now hosts one of the finest genealogy research labs in the world, you can spend hours searching through the achieve on the touch screen monitors, that are really user friendly, if you are trying to trace your family history or the history of someone in Glasnevin cemetery, staff are at hand to help you get started. Downstairs there is a fantastic recreation of a body-snatcher at work, great history, great educational and learning experience.