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O'Donovan Rossa, a founding member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (popularly known as the Fenians), died in New York on 29 June 1915, aged 84. As his funeral cortege wound its way through Dublin from the Pro-Cathedral to his final resting place in Glasnevin Cemetery, hundreds of thousands of people lined the route.
At the graveside, Irish nationalist Pádraig Pearse was chosen to deliver the oration. He saw the event as a fitting occasion to stir nationalist feelings, and gave an impassioned speech. The following April, just eight months later, Pearse was to be a leader of the 1916 Rising in Dublin, a pivotal conflict that changed the course of Ireland’s fight for independence.
Pearse’s rousing graveside oration is re-enacted in full daily (during peak months, check for details) at 2.30pm on the exact spot where it took place, and is one of the highlights of any visit to Glasnevin Cemetery.