Tuesday, 21 July: Seminar on Young Ireland the 19th Century Nationalism and Walking Tour of Glasnevin Cemetery

In the morning, we’ll head out of the city to Glasnevin Cemetery for a tour and visit to the museum.  Glasnevin is the final resting place for a number of prominent Irish figures, including Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera, Constance Markievicz, and Maude Gonne.

Along the way, we’ll discuss the various strands of nationalism that emerged in Ireland beginning in the mid-19th century.  This will include some work with speeches by some of the well-known nationalist leaders of the late 18th and early 19th century and poetry associated with the Young Ireland movement.

Your afternoon will be free for independent exploration of Dublin.  We’ve included a spotting map below to help you navigate the city.

Back to the Virtual Scrapbook main page.

4 Replies to “Tuesday, 21 July: Seminar on Young Ireland the 19th Century Nationalism and Walking Tour of Glasnevin Cemetery”

  1. Today we had a walking tour of Glasnevin cemetery, which was really awesome to see, but the tour guide was a little intense. After the tour though, we had a cool discussion about martyrs and the symbology of dead men and the causes they once stood for. I really enjoyed this discussion, and it was appropriate to have it in this cemetery in the midst of thousands of historical monuments to the dead and hundreds of thousands of unmarked graves among them as well (Glasnevin holds some 1.5 million bodies, more than the current living population of Dublin, which numbers somewhere near 1.3 million). Daniel O’Connell and Charles Parnell were among those immortalized dead, and we discussed the rise of their importance and support for them after their deaths. Michael Collins was buried here as well, and I found it fascinating that hundreds of flowers are still today placed on the grave of a man who meet his early demise just under 100 years ago. One French artist has apparently fallen in love with Collins long after his death and visits Ireland several times a year to place flowers and a note on his monument.

  2. Visiting the Glasnevin cemetery was such an interesting experience. It was so pleasant to visit the museum and see the exhibits. It was cool to see the informative exhibit in the basement describing how graves have been built and how practices differ between religions. This was fitting with the first nondenominational cemetery in Ireland. Now it has 25 unique religions resting next to each other. This is something that the cemetery staff is very proud of, emphasizing the peace between the dead and showing that the dead have something in common. Our tour guide was very informative. She was like a walking encyclopedia who knew everything about the celebrities buried in each grave. It was very interesting to realize how each person who died had their own story. When we had a discussion in the back of the cemetery it opened my mind in another aspect. I understood the blatant falseness of the cemetery marketing to tourism as I walked through the broken down part of the cemetery with broken and falling apart tombstones. I realized through the discussion how focused the tour presentation was on the deaths of the past and how that impacted the Ireland of today. As they continue to commemorate the past, they are creating expectations for the next generation to follow in the traditions of their ancestors, possibly neglecting their need to change and evolve.

  3. The way Daniel O’Connell was memorialized in Glasnevin Cemetery was intriguing. Most of the second floor of the museum was dedicated to O’Connell, and there was an enormous tower–about 150 feet–erected in his honor in the middle of the front part of the cemetery. The tour guide that showed us around the cemetery compared O’Connell to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and spoke with a tone of reverence for him that I have not experienced very often outside of Sunday mass. The rest of the tour was structured in a way that emphasized the individual history of a few key figures in Irish history. We didn’t get to learn too much about the cemetery’s history, but that left room to talk extensively about the graves of Eamon De Valera and Charles Stewart Parnell, who were both buried under significantly less impressive structures.

    Anyway, Dublin was a ton of fun. I enjoyed seeing many of the places mentioned in Ulysses. Dublin was the most populated place we have visited, even though it seemed as though about twice the population was present at the Cliffs of Moher on the gorgeous, sunny day when we visited. What was cool about Dublin was seeing all the newer, more modern buildings set right next to the other establishments that were up to hundreds of years old. As of the time of writing this, we have also visited Derry, but I’ll write more on that in the next post. We’ll be off to Sligo tomorrow, bright and early, and I am looking forward to studying Yeats in greater detail once we get there.

  4. I was a bit put off by the tour of Glasnevin, to be honest. I’m glad we went, and I found the tour to be really informative, but I think that the critical slant to Irish history that we’re learning with this course helped me dissect some of the attitudes at the graveyard. The tour guide talked fast and unloaded a lot of information at every stop, but a lot of the tour amounted to hero worship, and . Before the tour started I walked around the graveyard instead of the museum, and I stumbled on the republican row of graves–I saw the Devaleras, O’Donovan Rossa, the hunger striker memorial, etc. I was glad that we revisited those and she gave the relevant information on some of the republican figures, but I felt as though a lot of the information fell into the realm of hero worship–particularly, as Pam talked about, with O’Connell, and Parnell, and to a lesser extent with Devalera.

    O’Connell’s tomb was at the center of a ring of catacombs that wealthy families could buy to ensure that their future generations would have resting places, and his burial was fit for someone often called “Ireland’s uncrowned king.” Our guide emphasized the grandeur of the tomb and the kingly size of the coffin, but didn’t dwell much on the context of the bombing that knocked out the stairs winding up his monument. Parnell’s grave was marked by a big boulder, a symbol of the idea that he might some day return to Ireland, but our tour guide told us he was buried in a cholera pit, seemingly so he could be part of the common people, which I wouldn’t have been able to notice looking at the boulder on the hill alone. Devalera’s grave was the most modest, but the tour guide made sure to play up that fact, bragging about his humility. The tour allowed us a look into how Ireland wants these figures to be remembered, sometimes worshipped, divorced from context or narrowly contextualized. The graveyard itself didn’t get much attention in the tour, but as we walked around the outskirts of Glasnevin, I realized there was much more to it than the heroes they wanted us to focus on.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.