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Last Orders – Goldenbridge Cemetery All But Closed


Last Orders – Goldenbridge Cemetery All But Closed

The other week this correspondent was told (by Fran, a fellow-regular from the local), that the President of Dail Eireann from 1922-1932, W.T. Cosgrave was buried in Goldenbridge Cemetery, Inchicore. He also informed your correspondent that when the Big Man in the sky calls last orders on the Taoiseach of Ireland from 1973-1977, Liam Cosgrave (W.T’s son), who will also be buried in Goldenbridge, he will also be calling time on the cemetery itself.

The reason Fran’s nugget of knowledge piqued your correspondent’s interest was of having once taught at a neighbouring Secondary Girl’s school for several years; and having walked past the cemetery many a time on the way home from work, not knowing who was buried there.

Your correspondent had assumed the garden cemetery to be out of commission as it was always locked. However a phone call to Phillip Ryan, Head Grounds-Man of Glasnevin (who looks after Goldenbridge cemetery) confirmed this garden cemetery was still in use (just!), and yet to greet its final resident.

Your correspondent was intrigued as to how Liam’s future funeral would become Goldenbridge’s cemetery’s last hurrah.

After a search on the internet proved fruitless, a conversation with this correspondent’s local Publican (Gerry McGeough; Cherrytree Pub, Walkinstown) produced a result. Gerry had a book (‘the history of Kilmainham’ by Seosamh O’ Broin) which he gave to this correspondent that had a chapter explaining its closure (as well as its commencement).

According to ‘The history of Kilmainham’, Goldenbridge cemetery was the first catholic cemetery to be built in Dublin since the Reformation (the movement introduced by King Henry VIII to reform religious life & institutions in Ireland in 1550’s) and opened its gates in 1829.

The book further asserts that the popularity of this new Catholic cemetery (trustees also allowed other religious denominations to use the ground) for burials (12,000 in its first two years) was later to become its undoing. Their neighbours, the military at Richmond barracks were opposed to the cemetery as they claimed the daily funeral processions along Emmet Rd interfered with their exercises & their marches. The army eventually got the gates of Goldenbridge Cemetery closed in 1869 (except for those who previously had rights there) by an order from the War Office in London.

Liam it seems, will be the last to exercise the right (since the 140 odd-years of closure) to be eternally interred in the Garden Graveyard of Goldenbridge.


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