Sunday, December 30, 2012

Restoration Work in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin

Glasnevin Cemetery is probably the most well-known cemetery in Ireland due to the many famous figures in Irish history who are interred there. It is the final resting place for over 1.1 million people. According to the Glasnevin Cemetery Trust website:

"Glasnevin Cemetery was established in 1832 under the direction of Daniel O’Connell for the purpose of burying “people of all religions and non”. The cemetery encompasses 124 acres and 1.5 million burials. Glasnevin has great national heritage through the social and historical history of the people buried there from all walks of life over 178 years. Famous people interred there include the founder of the Cemetery - Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, O’Donovan Rossa, Eamon De Valera, Michael Collins, Countess Markiewicz, Maud Gonne McBride, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Brendan Behan, Christy Brown, Jimmy O’Dea, Luke Kelly, Alfred Chester Beatty, Michael Cusack and Liam Whelan. Less acclaimed people include victims of the Great Famine, the Cholera outbreaks and the Air India crash as well as the babies in the old Angels plot which was renovated and inaugurated by President McAleese in 2005."

What many people may not realise is that there is a major restoration programme going on there at the moment. Their website gives some details:

"Glasnevin Trust has an ongoing Restoration Programme funded by the National Development Plan through the Office of Public Works (OPW), making an important contribution towards restoring this great necropolis to its pristine glory of the early 1900s."

This is an extraordinary project for such a large site with so many monuments. Walking around the cemetery one can see the great work that has been done and the areas which have not been restored yet only highlight this further. The process involves moving most of the kerb stones, straightening and fixing broken tombstones, painting old railings and finally putting in a layer of topsoil which is then sown with grass seed.

Unrestored section (29-12-2012)

Unrestored section (29-12-2012)

Restored railings (29-12-2012)

Recently restored section (29-12-2012)

Restored section (29-12-2012)

Restored section (29 December 2012)

These sample photos show the extent of the damage over a long period of time in some sections and the quality of the restoration undertaken by the Trust. According to the Trust website, "this undertaking commenced in 2007 and will take an estimated 10 years, it is due for completion in time for the 2016 Easter Rising centenary celebrations."

The Trust website has very few photos of this ongoing great work and nothing of the restoration project on Facebook or YouTube. For those who are fans of the different restoration processes that are undergone on the castles, stately homes and other historical sites in Ireland, more photos, detailed descriptions and videos of the process would be very welcome.

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