Mount Jerome Cemetery | Dublin

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

I thought it was about time to get this blog in the Halloween mood, and what better way than a visit to the cemetery. I personally love visiting them, especially during Autumn.
Mount Jerome is very much in the shadow of its big sister, Glasnevin Cemetery (Dublin’s biggest cemetery) but I think it deserves a bit of the spotlight. It’s a beautiful slice of Victorian Dublin. It’s often compared to Highgate Cemetery in London and Paris’Père Lachaise and rightly so, it gives off the same sort of moody derelict atmosphere.
It’s an impressive example of Victorian architecture and symbolism, it even features quite a few famous Dublin characters as well as a very spooky vault…

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Mount Jerome was created in the early 19th century as an answer to the worryingly increase of deaths due to the cholera outbreaks of the time. Despite being non-denominational in its original plan, it quickly became the Protestant cemetery.
You see Mount Jerome was located right in the middle of a rich and affluent neighbourhood of Dublin. Walking through the cemetery’s old part today, you can admire the big vaults and tomb stones of the rich families of the time.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Mount Jerome had to wait until the 1920s and the establishment of the Irish Free State to see its first Catholic burial. Since then, beautiful Celtic crosses have stood alongside Victorian features (urns, angels, wreaths, obelisks and other Egyptian inspired structures). And if you look closely, you could even spot some masonic symbols (skulls and hands).
My favourite kind of memorials though are the ones that tell a little story about the deceased. On top of one of the structures stands a howling dog, it is said that the animal was found inconsolable on the shoreline where his master had drowned (see picture below). Or there is this vault which was fitted with a bell and a chain for a lady who had the phobia of being buried alive.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Mount Jerome has also quite a few famous residents. First off, keeping with the Halloween theme, there is Sheridan Le Fanu, a writer specialised in ghost stories. He is one of the founder of the genre and was a huge influence on his peers, most notably Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. You may have seen a google doodle dedicated to him recently as this year marks his bicentenary.
The cemetery counts also among its ranks playwright J.M. Synge, author of The Playboy of the Western World, the Guinness family vault and Oscar Wilde‘s father. You will find on Mount Jerome’s website handy maps (1 & 2) that will help you plan your visit and locate all the memorials that spike your interest.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Did you know that the real Mr Darcy was Irish? His name was Thomas Langlois Lefroy and he rests in a vault just next to the chapel in Mount Jerome. This member of the bar from Limerick had a few flirtatious encounters with Jane Austen. She was so deeply impacted that it is said she based Pride and Prejudice‘s brooding hero on her Irish suitor.

When I was a teenager, I used to have volleyball training just next to a cemetery. One evening my friend (hi Sandra, if you’re reading!) and I found out that there was a passage between the stadium and the cemetery and sneaked inside.
I may sound like the biggest chicken but walking in a graveyard at night is quite terrifying. We barely dared looking inside the vaults through the stained windows. I remember having to hold my breath while my eyes were getting accustomed to the darkness until I could discern the lines of a thankfully empty room.
Had I have to look into the Dycer vault in Mount Jerome then, I’m pretty sure my heart would have stopped on the spot. Even in clear daylight and knowing well what’s inside, I can’t help breaking into cold sweat when my eyes are met with those of a gawping skeleton with a twisted spine.
The vault belongs to Edward Dycer, a veterinarian surgeon from 19th century Dublin but apparently those bones are one of his relatives’.  The reason they are exposed is due to the fact that the coffin hadn’t been lined with lead.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of this jewel of Victorian Dublin. What do you think of visiting cemeteries? Is that something you do on holidays when discovering a new place? Or do you find it too creepy? Or maybe disrespectful? I’d love to read what you think on the subject.

Mount Jerome Cemetery

Practical Information

Mount Jerome Cemetery – website
158 Harold’s Cross Road
Harold’s Cross
Dublin

Bus: 9, 16, 49 54A

Opening Hours: 8.30am – 4pm (Mon-Sat) / 10am – 4pm (Sun & Bank Holidays)

Admission: Free

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Mount Jerome Cemetery | Dublin

  1. love the jane austen fact, so interesting!

    i really enjoy visiting cemeteries too but i do often wonder if people see it as disrespectful. i don’t think it is, it’s showing an interest in those who’ve passed so i see it as recognising their life, but still…others may not see it like that.

    i went to pere lachaise in paris last month & was worried it’d be like a tourist attraction but for the most part people respected where they were. oscar wilde’s grave was a bit mad though; they’ve had to install a barrier around it & a sign asking people not to deface it (even with the famous kisses).

    becky :: accooohtrements.wordpress.com

    Like

    • yes i agree totally with you, for me it’s all down to how you behave as magda said below, if i see someone in mourning next to me, i won’t whip out my camera but i like the idea of people showing interest to those little monuments to someone’s life.
      the père lachaise is so peaceful from what i can remember, i don’t think i saw the oscar wild’s grave tho, i wonder how this kissing trend started!

      Like

  2. Lovely photos Nora. For me Mount Jerome recollects mostly an apartment haunting, for some reason nice apartments popped up around that area at some point, but it was too far for us.
    Becky, I wouldn’t consider visiting cemeteries as disrespectful as long as you behave ;) Do you know that in Middle Ages cemeteries were actually treated as parks and it was common to go for a walk on Sunday there. I love all traditions like Mexican one, where they feast beside graves of loved ones.

    Like

    • i like those traditions too, i actually envy them, i was brought up in a county where death is completely hidden in a way, i think it makes it harder to cope with it. Ireland has an interesting take on it with the tradition of the wake, it makes the transition between life and death a bit blurry. I don’t know if I’m expressing myself very well… How is it in Poland?
      ps: haha your typo ‘apartment haunting’ made me chuckle, quite appropriate ;)

      Like

      • In Poland death is more visible a little, we have strong tradition of Zaduszki and All Saint’s Day, everybody goes to the cemetery to light the candles and leave flowers on the graves of friends and family. It’s reflective day, in the radio there is calmer music, the programmes on the radio and tv talk about famous people who died last year.
        That’s how cemeteries look like on those days.

        And my typo is very appropriate, you know what I’m thinking about :D
        (sorry I had issues posting the comment so it’s duplicated you can remove one)

        Like

  3. Glad I’m not the only weirdo that likes visiting cemeteries. I actually studied the history of them in college and Pere Lachaise is one of my favourite places to visit in Paris. Mount Jerome also has the tomb of Oscar Wilde’s mother who was a poet and nationalist in the 19th century, writing under the pen name Speranza, and apparently a big inspiration for Wilde.

    Like

    • nope, definitely not the only weirdo ;) actually it’s one of the first things i check in travel guide when i’m visiting a new place. I would love to go back to the Père Lachaise, I feel like I saw just a tiny part of it.
      Oh I’m glad you mention Oscar Wilde’s mother, I didn’t know whether to mention her or not as I was confused. I saw her name on the stone but then I read somewhere that her body was in a London’s cemetery Thanks for the info!

      Like

  4. Mr Darcy had to be Irish ahah it’s all about the charm and the accent x)
    This cemetery is really something. I only went to Glasnevin and catched a glimpse of Huguenot cemetery. Love the skeleton photo, looks so eerie! :)

    Like

  5. Pingback: 5 Places in Dublin That Will Give You the Heebie-Jeebies | The Art of Exploring

  6. Really cool blogpost Nora. I’m a big fan of visiting graveyards. I think that if someone is going to put a year’s wages into a folly of a monument it’s because they want to be remembered. It’s almost as though they’ve anticipated that we’d be carrying Wikipedia equipped devices with us!

    I haven’t been in Mount Jerome in years but plenty of tiny hidden country graveyards as aprt of an ongoing genealogy obsession I’m currently suffering.

    The funerary art says a lot about the people interred and grieving too. The fashion for “pagan” Egyptian inspired monuments is perplexing. Maybe it was fashionable because of the rediscovery of ancient Egypt in the late 19th and early 20th century?

    I was in one graveyard on the way into Naas recently and there were two huge creepy pyramids over two tombs. Really oddball stuff and decidedly unchristian for Victorians…

    Great blog! Google is giving out about it because the search results are referencing https when no license exists for your IP (FYI and all that…)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s