Attached to the Botanic Gardens is Ireland’s most important national memorials, Glasnevin Cemetery.
The main entrance is west on Finglas Road, but there is a somewhat hidden entrance from the Botanic Gardens.
From just inside the main entrance, turn left and walk about a minute along the boundary to this “secret” gate.
This burial ground resulted from Daniel O’Connell’s cries in the British Parliament for fair treatment of Irish Catholics. Before O’Connell’s push, there were no cemeteries where priests could legally perform Catholic rites before burial.
O’Connell’s vision was for a genuinely public cemetery, one in which Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and people of any other religious belief could be buried—a revolutionary idea in its day.
For a long time after its founding, it was one of the only places in Dublin for Catholic burials and is currently home to the remains of more than 1.5 million people.
O’Connell’s Tower in Glasnevin Cemetery
As such, several prominent Irish heroes are buried here. The champion of Glasnevin O’Connell has the most impressive memorial; look for the tall round Celtic tower. You can’t miss it. Irish Civil War rivals Michael Collins and Éamon De Valera are both buried here.
People regularly visit to place flowers on the grave of the one supported by their family during the conflict. (According to cemetery staff, Collins gets more.)
Many other important Irish figures are buried here, including freedom fighters Countess Markievicz and Roger Casement, playwright and poet Brendan Behan (whose memorial you may have seen along the Royal Canal), and singer Luke Kelly.
The cemetery is still open for new burials, so if you are interested
The Glasnevin Museum is not free, but it provides more insight and history about the cemetery, burial practices, and cemetery founder Daniel O’Connell.
There is also a café in the museum lobby if you need refreshment (Cemetery: Free, Museum: €6.00, Museum and Guided Cemetery Tour: €12.00; daily 10:00–17:00; www.glasnevintrust.ie). Bus 140 or 40 both return to City Centre from outside the main entrance to Glasnevin.