I had the occasion to visit Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin the other day and took my camera along with me. Strolling around I watched people visit the museum, take part in a tour, take their daily constitutional and one lady was walking her dog. It reminded me of the amazing documentary about the graveyard that I was lucky to watch when it screened for the first time in 2014.
I don’t normally review documentary films because I don’t watch that many, but One Million Dubliners is such a special film that I just can’t ignore it. Dublin, my hometown, is the capital city of Ireland and home to more than 500,000 people – Dublin county has a population of almost 2 million (almost 40% of the population of the republic). Glasnevin Cemetery is one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in the country and within its walls there are buried nearly twice as many deceased Dubliners are there are living Dubliners in the city itself.
This documentary tells the story of some of them and of some of the living who also make up the story of Ireland’s national necropolis.
Despite being a film about a cemetery it, in fact, celebrates life and the living. Each story and nugget of information gives the viewer hope and reminds us that nobody is really dead and gone once they are remembered by someone, somewhere, at some time.
A major contributing factor to the success of the film is the storyteller – Shane Mac Thomais. His obvious affection for the place and the people connected to it is contagious and the twist in the tale makes viewing worth every minute of your time. Even though it’s quite heartbreaking at the same time.
Do yourself a favour, track this gem down and watch it. But it’s only fair to warn you though that you’ll need the Kleenex handy for the laughter and the tears.