John Kavanagh's lays claim to being the oldest family pub in Dublin. It was established in 1833 and the current family are the 6th generation in the business. Known as ‘The Gravediggers’ because of its location next to Glasnevin cemetery and its attached folk history, this is a genuine Victorian bar, totally unspoilt.
There are many quirks about Gravediggers that make it unique. In order to keep the pub as close to its original appeal as possible, there’s no singing or dancing allowed, and there’s never been a telephone or a TV. It has its own myths and ghost stories, as well as tales of friendships and family strife, all passed down through the eight generations of the Kavanagh family who’ve run the pub since it opened in north Dublin in 1833.
The flooring is so caked over with Guinness and tobacco stains that the wood has bubbled in places. Since 1833, coffins and hearses sat outside while bereaved family and friends drank away their sorrows, sometimes forgetting to get to the actual graveyard. Dublin’s cemeteries committee actually brought in their own bylaw that restricted burials to occur only before noon which hoped to eliminate the number of people who were showing up drunk to funerals, or not at all.
Glasnevin Cemetery next door was modeled on the Pere Lachaise in Paris. The cemetery covers 124 acres and there are 1.5 million graves. This means there are more graves than there are people currently alive in Dublin! The population of Dublin is approximately 1.3 million at present. From the simplest slab of weathered stone to the most imposing monument, every marker in Glasnevin Cemetery bears witness to a life that, in ways small or large, helped shape the history and culture of Ireland.