John Kavanagh's, 'The Gravediggers', Dublin. Est. 1833
Lonely Planet listed ‘The Gravediggers’ at number 47 out of 50 hidden treasures of Europe in 2014. John Kavanaghs pub in Glasnevin (also known as the Gravediggers) has been run by the Kavanagh family since 1833, and in all that time it has changed very little.
The pub gained its nickname because it adjoins the wall of Ireland’s largest cemetery, Glasnevin Cemetery. The gravediggers used to knock on the back wall of the pub to ask for a pint where they would then be served through the railings that linked the pub with the graveyard.
The Gravediggers is steeped in countless myths and ghost stories, as well as tales of friendships and family strife, all passed down through the seven generations of the Kavanagh family who have run the pub since it opened in 1833.
The original old floorboards show so many signs of both Guinness and tobacco stains that the wood has actually bubbled in places. In order to keep the Gravediggers as close to its original condition as possible, no singing or dancing is allowed, and incredibly neither a TV or telephone have ever been permitted.
Glasnevin Cemetery next door was modelled on the Pere Lachaise in Paris. The cemetery covers 124 acres and is the resting place of 1.5 million Dubliners. There are actually more graves here than there are people currently living in Dublin! From the simplest slab of weathered stone to the most imposing headstone, every marker in Glasnevin Cemetery bears witness to a life that, whether short or long shaped the history and culture of Ireland.
In 1970, the pub was used for the filming of ‘Quackser Fortune has a Cousin in the Bronx’ featuring Gene Wilder and Margot Kidder.