The best way to talk about Glasnevin Cemetery is to read it through the writings of one of its most knowledgeable patrons. See below!
It is often quipped that Glasnevin Cemetery is the dead centre of Dublin.
The author of Dead Interesting, brings this cemetery to life and was written by Glasnevin's greatest guide, a man who knows more of the combined history of Glasnevin's dead than anyone alive, and who demonstrated his knowledge with humour and aplomb when he was giving his tours around the cemetery. That is, the one and only, Shane Mac Thomais, sadly r.i.p.
That same humour, but also appreciation of the human tragedy attached to many of the famous dead who lie there, comes across in the pages of this book. While concentrating on Glasnevin which he loves best it also covers other cemeteries within the city's bounds, regardless of creed or politics: Mount Jerome, the Bully's Acre and the Jewish Cemetery among others.
Shane has the ability and the wit to make all of this come alive, and to bring a smile to what many would regard as a doleful subject and to places which most people wouldnt want to be seen dead in! But Glasnevin itself has had a renaissance recently. The vision of two recent chairmen of the Glasnevin Trust Gavin Caldwell and John Green the cemeterys CEO, George McCullough, and the horticulturist Philip Ryan and his team, have made the place a joy to walk around, with new paths, restored monuments and well-pruned trees. The impression given is of a place well-cared for and showing honour to the dead, though it is a never-ending job requiring effort and money to show people from home and abroad what a national treasure Glasnevin is: a point most recently underlined by the wonderful new award-winning museum building at the cemetery's entrance.
What makes this book fascinating are the stories that Shane tells about those whose remains lie buried within Glasnevins towering walls. These are not just about the famous, of which there are obviously many, but also those ordinary folk who never made it into the nation's history books, who may have died from disease or disturbance, from the tragedy of weapons and wounds of war on various continents of the world, or who gave their lives to achieve the liberty which we enjoy and thank them for today. The stories range from the heroic to the macabre, from the heart-rending to the humorous, and that, and its great variety, is what makes this book such a lively read. Shane is a master of the tale well told, and he has that rare ability to transmit his enthusiasm to his listeners, a gift which I hope will also be appreciated by the readers of this volume which is issued by the Glasnevin Trust with the wish expressed by reviewers of every good book, namely, that it will have a long and interesting shelf-life.www.eganshouse.ie