History of Restoration of Old Angels Plot – Glasnevin Cemetery.
Dublin Cemeteries Committee, in association with A Little Lifetime Foundation held a Public Meeting on the 21st August 2004 in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin. The meeting was to give parents and families information and an opportunity to discuss the proposed restoration of the Old Angel’s Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery. The Old Angels Plot is situated to the right as you walk through the main entrance at Glasnevin.
Over 500 parents and family members attended and there was an over whelming support for the proposed plan. Dublin Cemeteries Committee met the following week and a decision was made to go ahead with the restoration plan as outlined.
This Old Plot is the resting place for over fifty thousand infants who were buried there up to the 1970’s. Glasnevin is one of the few Cemeteries that allowed stillborn babies to be buried in concentrated ground. In early times stillborn babies were not allowed in blessed ground, as they were unbaptised. Many babies were buried in the ditches and hedges on the outside of other cemeteries around the country. Often parents buried their babies themselves between dusk and dawn in fear of being caught and yet wanting their baby to buried in Holy Ground.
Up to 20 years ago, Mothers who delivered their stillborn babies in the Dublin Maternity Hospitals or Dublin Nursing Homes never saw their baby at birth. It was considered to be ‘better’ for them not to. Dads were totally excluded from the experience of childbirth anyway. The Hospital involved would see that the baby was buried in the Old Angels Plot in Glasnevin and for many parents the ‘bill’ for this is the only recognition they had for their baby.
This is almost too painful to even imagine happening but it did for thousands of parents. Many of whom, come back, years later, to trace where their baby is buried in Glasnevin.
As hard as it is to see this vast grave area, where so many children are buried and not all the children buried their were stillborn babies, it is also important to remember that at that time there were few cemeteries that allowed the burial of stillborn babies at all. We could place huge blame in many areas but little good would come of that as it was thought to be the best option at the time.
Now, many years later, the Old Holy Angels Plot will be given a huge investment of care and attention. The plan is to develop a memory garden, giving all parents the opportunity to be part of making their babies grave a more special place. At present up to 50 babies are buried in each grave so , it is difficult for parents who would like to place a marking on their baby’s grave as there could be up to 100 parents connected to each grave.
Recent report in the Sunday World suggested the Old Angels Plot will be bulldozed and this is totally untrue. In order to landscape the Angels Memory Garden areas, which have sunk or collapsed will be raised with top soil. Seating will be positioned around the garden for parents to take time to reflect and remember. Flowers and trees will be planted and the Angels Memory Garden divided into named areas, such as ‘Primrose Lane’ and ‘Buttercup Walk’ etc. Parents will be able to find out which ‘named area’ their baby is buried in.
The Dublin Cemeteries Committee in Glasnevin and the staff have looked after the area and prepared it each year for our annual Blessing. This year over 2000 parents and families attended. We appreciate their support and help to us for many years and to all the parents and families they have helped to trace where their baby is buried.
Inauguration & Blessing of The Angels Memory Garden, Glasnevin Cemetery
On the 19th June 2005 In the Her Excelency, Presence of President of Ireand, Mary McAleese,
His Grace, Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin, Arcbishop of Dublin
With special guests and over 10,000 parents and famiies.
Inauguration & Blessing of the Old Holy Angels Memory Garden
A DVD OF THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY IN THE PRESENCE OF THE PRESIDENT OF IRELAND MARY MCALEESE IS NOW AVAILABLE
Our thanks to all the artists and guests who took part in our special celebration and for allowing the recording to be made available to parents and families. No profit will be made from the sale of the production of the DVD. A charge to cover the production costs, postage and packaging is necessary.
The DVD costs €5.00 including postage and packing.
The DVD can be purchased directly from our online shop here , or you can send a cheque or postal order made payable to:
A Little Lifetime Foundation,
18 Orion Business Campus,
Rosemount Business Park,