On Sunday, the ferry arrived in Dublin on time at 10 past noon and after a short drive I arrived at the Collins Barracks before 1 o’clock, over an hour before the museum opened. I was rather perplexed as the large car park was packed (I did manage to find a space) although here didn’t seem to be many people around. I’d decided to visit the Arbour Hill Cemetery, a short walk from the museum, where 14 of the executed leaders of the insurrection of 1916 are buried
A short walk up the hill behind the museum is the rather ominous building of the Arbour Hill Prison. Just to the right of the prison is Arbour Hill Church, the prison chapel. The cemetery is right behind the church. Arriving outside the gate I noticed that there were a lot of people milling around and even more were coming out of the church. One of the Guards (police officers) standing by the gate told me that there had been a special mass taking place and this was being followed by the annual rally of the Fianna Fail political party. That explained the full car park at the museum!
I made my way to the back of the cemetery to the tomb of the executed rebels, including Patrick Pearse and James Connolly . They were executed in Kilmainham Prison (Connolly, who was seriously injured at the GPO during the uprising was shot while strapped to a chair as he wasn’t able to stand up) and their bodies were transported to Arbour Hill for burial in a communal pit
The graves are located under a low mound on a terrace of Wicklow granite surrounded by a limestone wall on which their names are inscribed in Irish and English.
At the rear of the cemetery there is wall on which the Irish Proclamation of Independence is inscribed in Irish and English.
The grave was cordoned off and a lectern had been set up, no doubt ready for the political rally. Luckily I managed to take a look before the masses arrived! (they were still coming out of the church) so managed to get some snaps without anyone obstructing the view – rather an achievement given the number of people milling around!