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August 31, 2014 / Aware of the Void

Glasnevin Cemetery – Ireland’s Largest Necropolis – Pinhole Obscura

"The Liberator"

Since the gates first opened on the 21st of February 1832 people have been dying to get in here. There has been a total of 1.5 million people interned in the the graveyard. To give that a little context, Dublin city has a current population of half a million people. This makes Glasnevin one of the most densely populated areas on the planet.

The graveyard is beautiful with a very rich history. It has become a major tourist attraction. This may seem a little macabre but just a few meters from the main entrance you are confronted with monuments and graves that bear the names of some of the most important people in the history of modern Ireland. These include the graves of Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, Maude Gonne, Kevin Barry, Roger Casement, Constance Markievicz, Pádraig Ó Domhnaill, Seán MacBride, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, Frank Duff, Brendan Behan, Christy Brown and Luke Kelly

The graveyard is surrounded by a high stonewall and watch towers. These serve as a grim reminder of the popularity of body snatching and grave robbing of the late 18th century.  The graves and monuments offer an interesting insight into the changing fashions for grave marking over the last 200 years. In the newest parts of the cemetery there is highly polished Italian marble headstones. Step a little further back in time and you see the large Celtic crosses with a hint of nationalism and all the way back at the foundation of the plot you find refined, stone monuments that speak of a more austere time.

The Glassnevin Trust has made a huge effort in building a world class museum and Genealogical archive on the site. The daily tours of the historical site are very popular. Since the cemetery is still in use one of the strangest sights you can hope to see is the guided tours being held alongside the arrival of a funeral possession.

If you happen to visit Dublin I would suggest that this place really is worth a visit.

Originally posted over at 

Zero Image 4×5 Pinhole Camera (Horseman 120 rollback fitted)
Film: Kodak Ektar 100
Dev: Tetenal C-41 Kit
Focal Length:25mm
Exposure:4 seconds

"The Liberator""The Liberator""The Liberator" "The Liberator"

Zero Image 4×5 Pinhole Camera (Horseman 120 rollback fitted)
Film: Kodak Ektar 100
Dev: Tetenal C-41 Kit
Focal Length:25mm

Various Exposure Time.


Leave a Comment
  1. Rolf Schmolling / Aug 31 2014 9:06 am

    Hi, interesting to see.
    When I did a year at UCC (1993/94) I wrote an essay about the three funerals of Daniel O’Connell, Charles Steward Parnell and Michael Collins…
    On another level, what are your experiences with the roll film back for the 4×5 pinhole?

    Thanks, R.

    • Aware of the Void / Aug 31 2014 11:11 am

      Hi Rolf, I use the roll back a lot, it makes using the 4×5 as a generally pinhole camera a handy prospect – I can trow it in the bag and not worrying about film holders etc.

  2. christian harkness / Aug 31 2014 3:44 pm

    Another super set of pinhole camera exposures!!!!

    Many years ago I went around Tallahassee [Florida’s Capital] with a home made 16×20 pinhole camera. Essentially a big plywood box. When I placed the camera in front of the Education Department building to make my exposure, a guy coming out said, ‘if that is a bomb, you need to get closer.’ Can you imagine what the reaction to that would be today – I would be surrounded by SWAT teams and lucky to get out alive!

    • Aware of the Void / Sep 1 2014 9:06 am

      I love that! The modern world has meant that bomb jokes are kind of frowned upon. The running gag here for a long time was that the centre of Belfast had lots of car-parking space (the joke being that there was formally buildings in the locations) – Humour is a great way of dealing with very sad situations.

      Do you take the pinhole out at all any more – I am loving the clamming photos – it is a world that I know nothing about so am learning through your shots.

      • christian harkness / Sep 1 2014 7:49 pm

        Hey Brendan – Ya, I guess it really would not have been a joke in Belfast. No, although I love pinhole work, I have not done any lately. Glad you like the claming photos!


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