February 22, 1832

On this day in 1832, in Glasnevin, Dublin, the first ever burial took place at Glasnevin Cemetery. Officially named Prospect Cemetery but rarely referred to as such, the cemetery was the first non-denominational burial ground in Ireland. Daniel O’Connell was among the voices that called for a space where anyone could bury their dead. This was especially important for Catholics, who had been barred from performing their full funeral ceremonies at Protestant burial grounds under the Penal Laws. Glasnevin was officially opened on February 21, and on the following day the body of four-year-old Michael Casey of Francis street in Dublin was the cemetery’s first interment. Since then it was seen an estimated 1.5 million burials, including those of O’Connell, Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, Maud Gonne and Brendan Behan.

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