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One Million Dubliners – Movie Review


One Million Dubliners – Review by Frank L.

Director: Aoife Kelleher
Writer: James Mitchell

This is the story of Glasnevin cemetery and the more than a million bodies which have been buried since it opened in 1832. Even if it is as a cemetery, a place for the dead, there is a whole community of men and women whose lives are centred around the cemetery: the grave diggers, the florists, the gardeners, the men who operate the crematorium and many others. There are the friends and relatives of those who lie within its quiet spaces. What is surprising to discover is that Glasnevin has a large number of casual visitors, it is one of Ireland’s leading tourist attractions. On reflection maybe not so surprising; Glasnevin is to Dublin what Pere Lachaise is to Paris or Highgate to London.

Most of those involved in the struggle for Irish freedom have found their final resting place within its walls. Their graves have become a place of pilgrimage but so too have the graves of many others. This well maintained and cherished space confers a sense of calm a place fit for the dead.

Glasnevin has its own resident historian and his commentary on the cemetery and on some of its inhabitants is spoken by a man who loves the cemetery and the comfort and solace it brings to so many people. He epitomises why the place has so many visitors as it is a place which has been loved over the decades and that love is continuous. Death has its ugly side; the furnaces of a crematorium and the resultant ash are not easy images but Kelleher holds a fine balance between what is routine in the work and yet the care shown which makes each cremation revered. Death of course is always present in life and this truth is manifested. A very fine piece of work. A sort of living commemoration.

Official Website is here.

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