Grangegorman Military Cemetery

Grangegorman Military Cemetery (Irish: Reilig Mhíleata Ghráinseach Ghormáin) is a British military cemetery in Dublin, Ireland, located on Blackhorse Avenue, off the Navan Road and beside the Phoenix Park.

Grangegorman Military Cemetery, Dublin
Cemetery panorama, 2012
Grangegorman Military Cemetery is located in Central Dublin
Grangegorman Military Cemetery
Location in Central Dublin
Blackhorse Avenue, Cabra, Dublin
Coordinates53°21′34″N 6°18′22″W / 53.3594°N 6.3060°WCoordinates: 53°21′34″N 6°18′22″W / 53.3594°N 6.3060°W
WebsiteCemetery details. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Find a GraveGrangegorman Military Cemetery, Dublin

The Cemetery

Main entranceGrangegorman
Cemetery entrance, Blackhorse Avenue

Battalion badges are marked on the headstones along with the name of the person buried, their rank and the date of their death, while a very few have personal inscriptions.[1] The Royal Dublin Fusiliers have a large number of their members and their closest relatives buried in the graveyard. Mature trees and well-maintained lawns create a reflective atmosphere. Situated beside the Phoenix Park, the cemetery's current comparative anonymity has more to do with those buried there than with its location. It was forgotten after independence in a country forged from a bitter conflict with Great Britain, as many viewed Irishmen who had fought in the British Army as traitors.[2]

Some of the graves were re-located to this site at a later date (nine from King George V Hospital grounds, two from Trinity College grounds, three from Portobello (Barracks) Cemetery, two from Drogheda (Little Calvary) Cemetery and one from Oranmore Old Graveyard).[3]

The Irish Times posited upon "one of the 1916 Rising's unresolved mysteries. Why did the bodies of five British officers lie, apparently unclaimed and forgotten, in waste ground in central Dublin for 46 years?" Their bodies were then discovered and interred in Grangegorman.[4]

The Irish National War Memorial Gardens dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914–1918 is approximately 1 km away in Islandbridge at the other side of Phoenix Park. A Screen Wall Memorial of a simple design standing nearly two metres high and fifteen metres long has been built of Irish limestone to commemorate the names of those war casualties whose graves lie elsewhere in Ireland and can no longer be maintained. Arranged before this memorial are the headstones of the war dead buried in Cork Military Cemetery but now commemorated here.[5][6]

A Turkish Hazel was planted in the cemetery in 2005 by the ambassadors of Turkey, New Zealand and Australia to Ireland to mark the 90th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915. The cemetery is currently managed by the Office of Public Works[7] to Commonwealth War Graves Commission standards and is the largest military cemetery in Ireland.[8][9]


The cemetery was opened in 1876 to serve as a graveyard for the soldiers of what was then Marlborough Barracks (now McKee Barracks) and their families. Since the British Army did not repatriate soldiers killed overseas until recently it contains the remains of soldiers from across the British Empire who died naturally or were killed in action in Ireland. It also contains the remains of some killed in the Crimea. After 1923 only servicemen and their next of kin could be buried there.[10][11]

World War I

Headstones to three New Zealand soldiers, casualties of World War I

World War One casualties are throughout the graveyard, and two of them are "known only to God". The Australian folk memory of the First World War can be seen in the annual Anzac Day commemoration at the cemetery.[12][13]

The cemetery holds the remains of Victoria Cross recipient Martin Doyle (1849–1940).[14]

The graves reveal some details about those interred there. Perhaps the best example is the row of burials of soldiers all killed on 10 October 1918. On that day a mail boat, the RMS Leinster, was torpedoed as it left Dublin and many soldiers on board were killed.

Easter Rising

Memorial to 2nd Lieut. G. Gray, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, killed in action during the Easter Rising

The graves of those who were killed between April 24 and the first week of May include those of some of the 118[15][16] soldiers who were killed in the course of the 1916 rising. There are numerous graves of Sherwood Foresters and South Staffs who suffered serious casualties when they attempted to cross Mount Street Bridge on the Grand Canal. Also included are Algernon Lucas and Basil Henry Worsley Worswick, subalterns of the King Edward's Horse, both (alongside two civilians) arrested and shot by their own side (pickets of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers), who mistakenly thought they were intruders aiding Rebels in the Guinness brewery.[17]

According to the Irish Times, "Families came to Dublin Castle in May 1916 to reclaim the bodies and funerals were arranged. Bodies which were not claimed were given military funerals and reinterred in the British military cemetery at Blackhorse Avenue, Grangegorman."[4]

Later Conflicts

Grave of unidentified RAF flyer killed during World War II

The last major conflict in the 26 counties involving the British Army was the Irish War of Independence. There are graves of soldiers killed between 1919 and 1921.[18] There are also the graves of 12 British military personnel (one of whom is unidentified) who died in World War II.[19]

The last burial took place in 1999.[20]

Further information

Burial Records: (acknowledged as not 100% complete)

  • Surnames A–F [1]
  • Surnames G–L [2]
  • Surnames M–R [3]
  • Surnames S–Z [4]


  1. ^ "Grangegorman Military Cemetery – Come here to me!". 2 March 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  2. ^ "Grangegorman Military Cemetery". Irish History Podcast. 28 February 2011. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Grangegorman Military Cemetery". Border Regiment Wiki. 27 March 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b Parsons, Michael (23 February 2011). "Locket commemorating soldier killed in Rising fetches £850 at auction". Irish Times. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Grangegorman Military Cemetery". Find A Grave. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  6. ^ Irish War Memorials Project - listing of monuments in Ireland,; accessed 23 June 2014.
  7. ^ "Heritage Ireland: Grangegorman Military Cemetery". Heritage Ireland. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Grangegorman". 25 April 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  9. ^ "CWGC: Grangegorman Military Cemetery".
  10. ^ Igoe, Vivien (2001). Dublin Burial Grounds & Graveyards. Dublin: Wolfhound Press. ISBN 0-86327-872-8.
  11. ^ Tony Gregory/Brian Cowen (31 January 2007). "Grangegorman Military Cemetery". Dáil Written Answers. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  12. ^ "Anzac Day dawn ceremony honours the fallen of Gallipoli". The Irish Times. 4 April 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  13. ^ "Remembering Gallipoli in Dublin at dawn". Irish Independent. 26 April 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  14. ^ Martin Doyle at Find a Grave
  15. ^ "British Soldiers KIA 1916 Rising". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  16. ^ "Casualties in Easter Rising 1916: Royal Dublin Fusiliers". 2010. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  17. ^ "Commonwealth War Graves Commission Newsletter, April 2014" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-11-05. Retrieved 1 November 2014. CWGC article 'Battles this Month; April 1916 - The Easter Rising,; accessed 4 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Officers Killed: Ireland 1916". Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  19. ^ "Grangegorman Military Cemetery". Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  20. ^ "Grangegorman Military Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland: Surnames A-F".


  • Thomas P. Dooley: Irishmen or English Soldiers?: the Times of a Southern Catholic Irish Man (1876-1916), Liverpool Press (1995), ISBN 0-85323-600-3.
  • Myles Dungan: They Shall not Grow Old: Irish Soldiers in the Great War, Four Courts Press (1997), ISBN 1-85182-347-6.
  • Keith Jeffery: Ireland and the Great War, Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge (2000), ISBN 0-521-77323-7.
  • Bryan Cooper (1918): The 10th (Irish) Division in Gallipoli, Irish Academic Press (1993), (2003). ISBN 0-7165-2517-8.
  • Terence Denman: Ireland's unknown Soldiers: the 16th (Irish) Division in the Great War, Irish Academic Press (1992), (2003) ISBN 0-7165-2495-3.
  • Desmond & Jean Bowen: Heroic Option: The Irish in the British Army, Pen & Sword Books (2005), ISBN 1-84415-152-2.
  • Steven Moore: The Irish on the Somme (2005), ISBN 0-9549715-1-5.
  • Thomas Bartlett & Keith Jeffery: A Military History of Ireland, Cambridge University Press (1996) (2006), ISBN 0-521-62989-6
  • David Murphy: Irish Regiments in the World Wars, OSprey Publishing (2007), ISBN 978-1-84603-015-4
  • David Murphy: The Irish Brigades, 1685–2006, A gazetteer of Irish Military Service past and present, Four Courts Press (2007)
    The Military Heritage of Ireland Trust. ISBN 978-1-84682-080-9
  • Stephen Walker: Forgotten Soldiers; The Irishmen shot at dawn Gill & Nacmillan (2007), ISBN 978-0-7171-4182-1

External links

Anzac Day

Anzac Day () is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served". Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the Great War (1914–1918).

Cathal Ó Murchadha

Cathal Ó Murchadha ([ˈkahəlˠ oː ˈmˠʊɾˠxuː], born Charles Murphy; 16 February 1880 – 28 April 1958) was an Irish politician and republican.

Easter Rising

The Easter Rising (Irish: Éirí Amach na Cásca), also known as the Easter Rebellion, was an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week, April 1916. The Rising was launched by Irish republicans to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic while the United Kingdom was heavily engaged in the First World War. It was the most significant uprising in Ireland since the rebellion of 1798, and the first armed action of the Irish revolutionary period.

Organised by a seven-man Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Rising began on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, and lasted for six days. Members of the Irish Volunteers—led by schoolmaster and Irish language activist Patrick Pearse, joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly and 200 women of Cumann na mBan—seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic. The British Army brought in thousands of reinforcements as well as artillery and a gunboat. There was fierce street fighting on the routes into the city centre, where the rebels put up stiff resistance, slowing the British advance and inflicting heavy casualties. Elsewhere in Dublin, the fighting mainly consisted of sniping and long-range gun battles. The main rebel positions were gradually surrounded and bombarded with artillery. There were isolated actions in other parts of Ireland, with attacks on the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks at Ashbourne, County Meath, County Cork and in County Galway, and the seizure of the town of Enniscorthy, County Wexford. Germany had sent a shipment of arms to the rebels, but the British had intercepted it just before the Rising began. Volunteer leader Eoin MacNeill had then issued a countermand in a bid to halt the Rising, which greatly reduced the number of rebels who mobilised.

With much greater numbers and heavier weapons, the British Army suppressed the Rising. Pearse agreed to an unconditional surrender on Saturday 29 April, although sporadic fighting continued until Sunday, when word reached the other rebel positions. After the surrender the country remained under martial law. About 3,500 people were taken prisoner by the British, many of whom had played no part in the Rising, and 1,800 of them were sent to internment camps or prisons in Britain. Most of the leaders of the Rising were executed following courts-martial. The Rising brought physical force republicanism back to the forefront of Irish politics, which for nearly 50 years had been dominated by constitutional nationalism. It, and the British reaction to it, led to increased popular support for Irish independence. In December 1918, republicans, represented by the reconstituted Sinn Féin party, won 73 seats in a landslide victory in the general election to the British Parliament. They did not take their seats, but instead convened the First Dáil and declared the independence of the Irish Republic. The Soloheadbeg ambush started the War of Independence.

485 people were killed in the Easter Rising. About 54% were civilians, 30% were British military and police, and 16% were Irish rebels. More than 2,600 were wounded. Many of the civilians were killed as a result of the British using artillery and heavy machine guns, or mistaking civilians for rebels. Others were caught in the crossfire in a crowded city. The shelling and the fires it caused left parts of inner city Dublin in ruins.


Grangegorman (Irish: Gráinseach Ghormáin) is a suburb on the northside of Dublin city, Ireland. The area is administered by Dublin City Council. It was best known for decades as the location of St Brendan's Hospital, which was the main psychiatric hospital serving the greater Dublin region. The area is currently the subject of a major redevelopment plan under the aegis of the Grangegorman Development Agency, including the new Technological University Dublin campus.

Grangegorman is also a civil parish in the historical baronies of Dublin City and Coolock.

Ireland and World War I

During World War I (1914–1918), Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which entered the war in August 1914 as one of the Entente Powers, along with France, and the Russian Empire. In part as an effect of chain ganging, the UK decided due to geopolitical power issues to declare war on the Central Powers, consisting of the German Empire, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria.

Occurring during Ireland's revolutionary period, the Irish people's experience of the war was complex and its memory of it divisive. At the outbreak of the war, most Irish people, regardless of political affiliation, supported the war in much the same way as their British counterparts, and both nationalist and unionist leaders initially backed the British war effort. Irishmen, both Catholic and Protestant, served extensively in the British forces, many in three specially raised divisions, while others served in the armies of the British dominions and the United States, John T. Prout being an example of an Irishman serving in the latter. Over 200,000 men from Ireland fought in the war, in several theatres. About 30,000 died serving in Irish regiments of the British forces, and about 49,400 died altogether.

In 1916, Irish republicans took the opportunity of the ongoing war to proclaim an independent Irish Republic and launch an armed rebellion against British rule in Dublin, which Germany attempted to help. In addition, Britain's intention to impose conscription in Ireland in 1918 provoked widespread resistance and as a result remained unimplemented.

After the end of the war, Irish republicans won the Irish general election of 1918 and declared Irish independence. This led to the Irish War of Independence (1919–1922), fought between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and British forces. Ex-servicemen fought for both the British forces and the IRA, an example of the latter being Tom Barry. This war ended with the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which led to the Irish Civil War (1922–1923) between pro-treaty and anti-treaty forces. The pro-treaty forces were victorious and Ireland was partitioned, with most of the island becoming the Irish Free State.

The remarks attributed to National Volunteer and poet, Francis Ledwidge, who was to die in preparation of the Third battle of Ypres in 1917, perhaps best exemplifies the changing Irish nationalist sentiment towards enlisting, the War, and to the Germans and British.

"I joined the British Army because she stood between Ireland and an enemy common to our civilization, and I would not have her say that she defended us while we did nothing at home but pass resolutions".

After the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising – including his friend and literary mentor Thomas MacDonagh – were executed during his military leave, he said:

"If someone were to tell me now that the Germans were coming in over our back wall, I wouldn’t lift a finger to stop them. They could come!"

Irish National War Memorial Gardens

The Irish National War Memorial Gardens (Irish: Gairdíní Náisiúnta Cuimhneacháin Cogaidh na hÉireann) is an Irish war memorial in Islandbridge, Dublin, dedicated "to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914–1918", out of over 300,000 Irishmen who served in all armies.

The Memorial Gardens also commemorate all other Irish men and women who at that time served, fought and died in Irish regiments of the Allied armies, the British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, South African and United States armies in support of the Triple Entente's war effort against the Central Powers.

Irish War of Independence

The Irish War of Independence (Irish: Cogadh na Saoirse) or Anglo-Irish War was a guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army (IRA, the army of the Irish Republic) and British forces: the British Army, along with the quasi-military Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and its paramilitary forces the Auxiliaries and Ulster Special Constabulary (USC). It was an escalation of the Irish revolutionary period into warfare.

In April 1916, Irish republicans launched the Easter Rising against British rule and proclaimed an Irish Republic. Although it was crushed after a week of fighting, the rising and the British response led to greater popular support for Irish independence. In the December 1918 election, the republican party Sinn Féin won a landslide victory in Ireland. On 21 January 1919 they formed a breakaway government (Dáil Éireann) and declared Irish independence. That day, two RIC officers were shot dead in the Soloheadbeg ambush by IRA volunteers acting on their own initiative. The conflict developed gradually. For much of 1919, IRA activity involved capturing weaponry and freeing republican prisoners, while the Dáil set about building a state. In September, the British government outlawed the Dáil and Sinn Féin and the conflict intensified. The IRA began ambushing RIC and British Army patrols, attacking their barracks and forcing isolated barracks to be abandoned. The British government bolstered the RIC with recruits from Britain—the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries—who became notorious for ill-discipline and reprisal attacks on civilians, some of which were authorized by the British government. Thus the conflict is sometimes called the "Black and Tan War". The conflict also involved civil disobedience, notably the refusal of Irish railwaymen to transport British forces or military supplies.

In mid-1920, republicans won control of most county councils, and British authority collapsed in most of the south and west, forcing the British government to introduce emergency powers. About 300 people had been killed by late 1920, but the conflict escalated in November. On Bloody Sunday in Dublin, 21 November 1920, fourteen British intelligence operatives were assassinated in the morning; then in the afternoon the RIC opened fire on a crowd at a Gaelic football match, killing fourteen civilians and wounding 65. A week later, seventeen Auxiliaries were killed by the IRA in the Kilmichael Ambush in County Cork. The British government declared martial law in much of southern Ireland. The centre of Cork city was burnt out by British forces in December 1920. Violence continued to escalate over the next seven months, when 1,000 people were killed and 4,500 republicans were interned. Much of the fighting took place in Munster (particularly County Cork), Dublin and Belfast, which together saw over 75 percent of the conflict deaths.The conflict in parts of Ulster had a sectarian aspect. While the Catholic minority there mostly backed Irish independence, the Protestant majority were mostly unionist/loyalist. A Special Constabulary was formed, made up mostly of Protestants, and loyalist paramilitaries were active. They attacked Catholics in reprisal for IRA actions, and in Belfast a sectarian conflict raged in which almost 500 were killed, most of them Catholics.In May 1921, Ireland was partitioned under British law by the Government of Ireland Act, which created Northern Ireland. Both sides agreed to a ceasefire (or 'truce') on 11 July 1921. The post-ceasefire talks led to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on 6 December 1921. This ended British rule in most of Ireland and, after a ten-month transitional period overseen by a provisional government, the Irish Free State was created as a self-governing Dominion on 6 December 1922. Northern Ireland remained within the United Kingdom. After the ceasefire, violence in Belfast and fighting in border areas of Northern Ireland continued, and the IRA launched a failed Northern offensive in May 1922. In June 1922, disagreement among republicans over the Anglo-Irish Treaty led to the ten-month Irish Civil War. The Irish Free State awarded 62,868 medals for service during the War of Independence, of which 15,224 were issued to IRA fighters of the flying columns.

Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle VC, MM (25 October 1891 – 20 November 1940) was a British soldier during the First World War, and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

After the war he joined the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence, served with the National Army during the Irish Civil War, in the Defence Forces until 1937 and Reserve Defence Forces until 1939.

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park (Irish: Páirc an Fhionnuisce) is an urban park in Dublin, Ireland, lying 2–4 km west of the city centre, north of the River Liffey. Its 11 km perimeter wall encloses 707 hectares (1,750 acres); it is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city. It includes large areas of grassland and tree-lined avenues, and since the 17th century has been home to a herd of wild fallow deer. The English name comes from the Irish fionn uisce meaning "clear water". The Irish Government is lobbying UNESCO to have the park designated as a world heritage site.

RMS Leinster

RMS Leinster was an Irish ship operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. She served as the Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire)-Holyhead mailboat until she was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine UB-123 on 10 October 1918, while bound for Holyhead. She went down just outside Dublin Bay at a point 4 nautical miles (7.4 km) east of the Kish light.

The exact number of dead is unknown but researchers from the National Maritime Museum believe it was at least 564, this would make it the largest single loss of life in the Irish Sea.

Royal Dublin Fusiliers

The Royal Dublin Fusiliers was an Irish infantry Regiment of the British Army created in 1881, one of eight Irish regiments raised and garrisoned in Ireland, with its home depot in Naas. The Regiment was created by the amalgamation of two British Army regiments in India, the Royal Bombay Fusiliers and Royal Madras Fusiliers, with Dublin and Kildare militia units as part of the Childers Reforms that created larger regiments and linked them with "Regimental Districts". Both regular battalions of the Regiment fought in the Second Boer War. In the First World War, a further six battalions were raised and the regiment saw action on the Western Front, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. In the course of the war three Victoria Cross were awarded.Following the establishment of the independent Irish Free State in 1922, the five regiments that had their traditional recruiting grounds in the counties of the new state were disbanded.

Royal Irish Regiment (1684–1922)

The Royal Irish Regiment, until 1881 the 18th Regiment of Foot, was an infantry regiment of the line in the British Army, first raised in 1684. Also known as the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot and the 18th (The Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot, it was one of eight Irish regiments raised largely in Ireland, its home depot in Clonmel. It saw service for two and a half centuries before being disbanded with the Partition of Ireland following establishment of the independent Irish Free State in 1922 when the five regiments that had their traditional recruiting grounds in the counties of the new state were disbanded.

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