Glasnevin Cemetery and the funeral of Thomas Ashe, 30 September 1917

By Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

The funeral of the republican leader Thomas Ashe in Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery on 30 September 1917 was a milestone in the campaign for Irish independence. This exhibition explores the funeral, its significance and legacy, and the social history of Dublin as revealed through the lives and deaths of those buried in Glasnevin Cemetery on that day.

Memorial card for Thomas Ashe, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Memorial card for Thomas Ashe (1917/2017)Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

Memorial card for Thomas Ashe

According to the Irish Times (1 October 1917), on the day of his funeral 'vendors of memorial cards plied a profitable trade' on the streets of Dublin.

Glasnevin Cemetery grant book for the Ashe grave, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Glasnevin Cemetery interment order for Thomas Ashe, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Members of the Black Raven Pipe Band in Glasnevin Cemetery, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Ashe was a talented piper, and had been instrumental in founding the Black Raven Pipe Band, members of which are pictured here at his funeral, in Lusk in 1910.

Pallbearers at the graveside, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Pallbearers carry Ashe's coffin, draped in a tricolour, to the graveside.

Mourners and gravediggers at the graveside, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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A crowd scene at the graveside in Glasnevin Cemetery after the lowering of the coffin into the grave.

Colour party at the graveside, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Members of the Irish Volunteers, who marshalled the funeral, fire a volley of shot over Ashe's grave.

Glasnevin burial register, September 1917, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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One day in Glasnevin (1917/2017)Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

One Day In Glasnevin

The entrance to Glasnevin Cemetery on the Finglas Road, c. 1906. All burials entered through this gate; this would have been the case on 30 September 1917 (Glasnevin Trust).

Detail from Glasnevin Cemetery burial register, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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A detail from the Glasnevin burial registers for 30 September 1917.

Glasnevin Cemetery grant book for Michael Byrne's grave, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Glasnevin Cemetery poor ground burial register, September 1917, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Map of Glasnevin Cemetery St Paul's section, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Glasnevin Cemetery interment order for Augustine Dumay, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Detail from Glasnevin Cemetery burial register, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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The Dumay grave, Glasnevin Cemetery, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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The grave of Augustine Dumay in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Postcard of Glasnevin 'republican plot' (1917/2017)Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

Postcard of Glasnevin 'republican plot'

A contemporary postcard image of the 'IRA and Fenian plots' (later the republican plot), and of Ashe's grave; the current headstone had not yet been erected (Glasnevin Trust).

Map of Glasnevin Cemetery, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Postcard image of Parnell's grave (1917/2017)Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

Postcard image of Parnell's grave

An early twentieth-century postcard of the Home Rule leader Charles Stewart Parnell's grave in Glasnevin, which became a landmark in its own right after his funeral in 1891.

The grave of Joseph Edward Kenny, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Glasnevin Cemetery grant book for Patrick O'Brien grave, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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The Stephens, O'Leary and Ashe graves, Glasnevin Cemetery, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Election flyers for 1917 (1917/2017)Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

Election flyers for 1917

The rivalry between the IPP and SInn Féin, as hinted at in the purchasing of graves in Glasnevin Cemetery, became increasingly real and acrimonious throughout 1917. This is graphically illustrated by the highly critical invective directed at the IPP in this Sinn Féin election flyer for the South Longford by-election of 1917.

Correspondence relating to the republican plot, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Outline of graves available for purchase, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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A contemporary depiction of graves available for purchase in the area that became the republican plot.

Contemporary listing of republican graves in Glasnevin, 1917/2017, From the collection of: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
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Thomas Ashe's headstone (1917/2017)Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

Thomas Ashe's headstone

The grave of Thomas Ashe in Glasnevin Cemetery's republican plot. The current memorial, which also serves to mark the graves of Ashe's fellow-republicans and veterans of the independence struggle Peadar Kearney (the author of the The soldiers song) and Piaras Béaslaí, was unveiled in 1967.

Exhibition Acknowledgements (2017/2017)Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

Credits: Story

Curated by John Gibney.

Photography and video recording by Paul Sharp.

Technical support by Luke Portess.

Archival footage courtesy of the Irish Film Institute.

Thanks to: Lynn Brady, Conor Dodd, Ian Kenneally, Georgina Laragy and Rebecca McCullough.

The exhibition was developed by Trinity College Dublin in partnership with Glasnevin Trust and was funded under the Irish Research Council's 'New Foundations' scheme.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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