We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

A Little Respect Please

Ireland
Level Contributor
3,584 posts
Save Topic
A Little Respect Please

Spent some time in Monasterboice this afternoon with friends who wanted to take pictures of the High Crosses.

Whilst we were there 2 coaches arrived. Amongst the visitors, people walked over graves, stood on grave edges to get better pictures and didnt seem to have any respect for the sacred place they were standing. Before they arrived, there were two ladies praying at a fresh grave. We were the only 6 people there at the time and the peaceful, tranquil setting was fitting for these ladies grieving. Thankfully they had left when these people stood on the grave for their photo opportunities. It took me all in my power not to say something to them (sorry now I didn't - but I got one of those "looks" from himself). It's annoying me since.

Although a lot of traditions are dying in Ireland, we still have respect for our dead and where they are interred. Please, guests of our country - could you do so to?

Ennis, Ireland
Level Contributor
3,899 posts
202 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: A Little Respect Please

LittlePumpkin, you are so right.

I have seen this many times and it is so disrespectful.

My husband's uncles are buried in Quin Abbey, which is a heritage site here in Clare and people just walk all over the headstones and graves.

I have seen it at other places too and I must say it does upset me as well.

Grayslake, Illinois
Level Contributor
2,055 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: A Little Respect Please

Hi ladies, I think we North Americans have fewer qualms about walking on graves - our cemeteries are huge and park-like.....to get to my mother's grave, I have to walk over about 30 graves, no other way to get there.

Please excuse the tourists at Monasteboice - I'm sure they meant no disrespect - they were likely distracted & awed by the place, and not paying attention to where they were standing.

Pasadena, California
Destination Expert
for Pasadena
Level Contributor
5,825 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: A Little Respect Please

This is an interesting thread. One of the unique things about Ireland-- at least, I haven't seen it anywhere else we have visited-- is the way that the country's greatest ancient and medieval sites co-exist with active, contemporary cemeteries. We noticed this at Cashel and at Glendalough. At Glendalough, we must have been wandering around, awestruck, for 15 minutes before we noticed that the dates on some of the stones were quite recent. We were amazed to realize that this national treasure was also, apparently, the neighborhood graveyard. I am sure we must have walked on some graves in that time.

It might be helpful to post something at the historic sites pointing out that the sites are active cemeteries, and to avoid walking on the graves.

And as Trinitraveler pointed out, our modern American cemeteries tend to be quite different---from any distance, they just look like parks. The grave markers are mostly identical, simple bronze plaques, about 12 inches by 14 inches, set into acres of lawn, so that mowers can go right over them. The general rule is that you walk on the graves (there is no other option) but do not step on the bronze grave markers.

Dublin
Level Contributor
912 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: A Little Respect Please

I don’t believe in graveyards in the first place nor the ‘in memory’ roadside shrines that seem to becoming more and more prevalent. Is it not enough that we get to use and abuse the earth when we are alive? At the rate our population is going the whole country will be a grave yard. Respect for one and all and respect for the earth too.

ireland
Level Contributor
6,266 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: A Little Respect Please

I don't think the people do it on purpose - so its not really about respect. Its just that they probably don't know. I have walked over graves before as I sure most people have, trying to get to another grave - or walked on the edges of the graves. Its not as if the people underneath is going to feel anything is it.

I would be upset if graves were vandalised but as far as walking over a

certain piece of earth I don't see any harm in that at all.

clare,ireland
Level Contributor
5,334 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: A Little Respect Please

At Glendalough, we must have been wandering around, awestruck, for 15 minutes before we noticed that the dates on some of the stones were quite recent. where its old or recent -still somebody buried there!! ok if there is a funeral taking place -people converge and have to be closer to the burial grave so its more unavoidable but when not many around -there must be some pathway between graves to walk on .In USA -there is Do not walk on the grass signs -when has grass become more sacred than graves??.

Western Ireland...
Destination Expert
for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden, Connemara
Level Contributor
17,715 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: A Little Respect Please

I grew up in the UK and my parents and (Irish) grandparents were all cremated as I will be. My views on death are through experience far removed from the majority but I do have respect. Common sense has a lot to do with how people should act. There are places where graves have to be walked over for access but not when there are mourners close by. I would not wish to put my personal views in any equation of another persons grief or belief.

Aiken, South...
Level Contributor
265 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: A Little Respect Please

I must clarify, the United States is a very large country, and you can't make a general statement that encompasses all cemeteries. All U.S. cemeteries do not have space to walk around the graves.

I was in a very old graveyard recently here in the south and there was no way to get around without walking on top of the graves, which made me very uncomfortable. Even though this section consisted of those long gone, it felt very disrespectful to me and I kept trying to walk around the edges instead of right on the very top.

Pasadena, California
Destination Expert
for Pasadena
Level Contributor
5,825 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: A Little Respect Please

When we were at Glendalough, it was nearly empty-- no mourners, and hardly any visitors. (Had there been mourners present, I think we would have QUICKLY realized it was an actively used cemetary). The emptyness of the site added tremendously to the evocativeness of the place-- we felt very lucky to be there. Even though we are not Catholic, or even Christian, or even religious for that matter, the deep spirituality of this ancient place felt very strong and it was quite moving to think of the lives of the monks who lived there.

I was also touched by the freshly potted flowers we saw on many of the more recent graves-- especially those where the deceased had been gone for 10 or 20 years or more, but the flowers were very clearly planted within the last few weeks. I obviously don't frequent American cemeteries, but I do have the sense that this would be rare in the US.

In our Jewish cemeteries, flowers are not customary anyway. Some of us leave stones on the graves when we visit (this being a traditional Jewish custom). My children and I had saved "special" stones-- pretty rocks from the beach, rocks collected on camping trips-- to place on Grandpa's grave.

In older cemeteries, the stones sometimes collect in piles on the gravestones. But ours are always gone by the next visit-- whether removed by the cemetery staff, or "re-homed" by other visitors, we don't know. One of life's little mysteries.

In California, most cemeteries are called "memorial parks", and that is what they look like. Perhaps this euphemizing-- from graveyard to cemetery to memorial park-- has changed the etiquette or blunted our awareness in some way. I am sure that neither I nor other visitors mean any disrespect to the dead. I do apologize if I might have offended.

A thread like this is interesting, though. Despite the shared language, and the smaller world produced by the internet, when we travel, we are still going to a really different place, with different customs and history and traditions, and different life experiences. (And for that matter, sometimes you only have to travel across town to acheive that!) Sometimes, it is easy to forget that.

Pasadena, California
Destination Expert
for Pasadena
Level Contributor
5,825 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: A Little Respect Please

Anyway, discussing this with my husband, he points out that there were pathways at Glendalough, and doesn't recall our stepping on any graves at all...whew, I am relieved...