“This cemetery is a treacherous place”. The appropriation of political, cultural and class ownership of Glasnevin Cemetery, 1832 to 1909
Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery became a focus of nationalist commemoration after 1832. The Irish diaspora in America celebrated it as the resting place of nationalist heroes, including Parnell, O’Connell and others linked with Irish Catholicity or culture. American newspapers reported on commemorations for the Manchester Martyrs and Parnell. The Dublin Cemeteries Committee (DCC) managed the cemetery. In the early 1900s, the DCC lost a political battle over who should act as guardian of the republican tradition in a tiny area of political property within the cemetery. A critical sequence of Young Irelander or Fenian funerals (Charles Gavan Duffy, James Stephens, and John O’Leary) marked the transfer of authority from the DCC to advanced nationalists. The DCC’s public profile also suffered during the 1900s as Dublin city councillors severely criticised the fees charged for interments, rejecting the patriarchal authority of the cemetery’s governing body.