Mount Jerome Cemetery and Crematorium [Harold's Cross Cemetery]
Mount Jerome is located in the heart of the suburb of Harold’s Cross which is centrally located on the south side of Dublin city, just beyond the grand canal. It is on the 16 and 9 bus routes. If you are getting a taxi make sure that they do not bring you to Mount Argus church which is nearby [I mention this because it has happened to some of my relatives attending family funerals]
Mount Jerome was the first privately owned cemetery in Ireland, when it first opened in 1836. It was also the first privately owned crematorium in Ireland in 2000. To date they have received more than 250,000 funerals for burial and 13,000 for cremation. They receive 250,000 visitors annually.
Due to the declining burial numbers in the 1970's, the condition of the Cemetery began to deteriorate as revenues fell. In 1984 it was put into voluntary liquidation. I actually lived beside Mount Jerome in 1983-85 and often saw young children and teenagers vandalising graves and monuments. By the late 1990's, it had fallen into a serious state of neglect with large swaths of the cemetery covered in overgrowth.
However with new owners in 1998 and the opening of a Crematorium in 2000, revenues have recovered and the Cemetery has undergone a complete reversal of fortune. The ongoing funds provided by the Crematorium have afforded the Cemetery the means to put in place a proper maintenance program to prevent it falling into decline again. Even since my last visit I can see a major improvement.
If you like old churchyards and cemeteries Mount Jerome is a place that should be on your ‘places to visit’ list. It is here here wealthy Victorians were buried and had expensive monuments built to advertise their importance even though they had moved on the the afterlife. They couldn't take their wealth with them. So they made sure they could still flaunt it for decades and centuries to come.
To some extent they must have been fooled by the craftsmen of the day into believing that the monuments had been built to last. Most of the Victorian structures have decayed to a greater or lesser extent and some are in a really bad condition.
It has some prominent persons interred, but the funerary architecture and statuary is the main attraction. Conservative family vaults, some serviced by sunken roads, compete with Egyptian-style tombs. And amongst dozens of angels clutching all sorts of paraphernalia you will also find a dog pining for its dead master. The symbolism is very different to that at Glasnevin - for example there are fewer celtic crosses there are many more broken columns [A broken column indicates a life cut short, a memorial to the death of someone who died young or in the prime of life, before reaching old age] and to a much greater degree the monuments proclaim the wonderful attributes of the deceased.
In my opinion the decay adds to the attractiveness of Mount Jerome.
Like Glasnevin, Mount Jerome is an operating graveyard and two of my grandparents are buried there.