A Rebel’s Resting Place

by Luke Flanagan

On the 29th of April 1916, Pádraig Pearse gave the order to surrender to the rebels behind the Easter Rising. The leaders of the rebellion were taken Kilmainham Gaol, where they were kept until their execution.  

Fifteen rebels were executed between the 3rd and 12th of May, among them were the seven signees of the Proclamation. They were executed by a firing squad in the courtyard of Kilmainham Gaol. But have you ever wondered where they are buried? 

The grave of the leaders of the 1916 Rising in Arbour Hill Cemetery.

14 of the 15 rebels executed in 1916 are buried in Arbour Hill Military Cemetry in Stoneybatter. They were taken there to be buried after their execution. The cemetery itself is located behind the prison. The graves are located under a mound on a terrace of Wicklow granite. The grave is surrounded by a wall in which the names of those buried are inscribed. On the prison wall opposite the grave, there is a plaque with the names of the other people who were killed in the Rising. An annual ceremony of commemoration is held at the cemetery and at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Arbour Hill. In 1963, United States President John F. Kennedy visited the grave.  

A plaque inscribed with the names of those killed in the 1916 Rising in Arbour Hill Cemetery.

Roger Casement is the only one of the fifteen executed for their role in the rebellion to not be buried in Arbour Hill. He, of course, was not directly involved in the rising itself, but was captured by the British on The Aud while transporting weapons from Germany to be used in the Rising. He was executed by hanging in Pentonville Prison, London in August of 1916. He was originally buried there, but in 1965 his body was brought back to Dublin and buried in Glasnevin Cemetry. 

Casement is not the only rebel buried in Glasnevin. Glasnevin Cemetery also contains the graves of Michael Collins, Former President Éamon De Valera, and Arthur Griffith. The grave of Daniel O’Connell is also located in Glasnevin Cemetery, underneath the tower.  

Both cemeteries attract a huge number of tourists from all corners of the globe every year.  

Aoife, a tour guide at Glasnevin Cemetery, said that: ‘it’s incredible to have so many historic figures here at the cemetery. I am very proud to be able to show people their resting places and talk about them every day. Tourists from other countries are always very interested to learn about historic Irish figures and we are more than happy to educate them about our fascinating history.’  

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