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Tuesday 19 November 2019

Tributes flow in for well known Dublin historian

Glasnevin chronicler Shane MacThomais. Photo: Damien Eagers
Glasnevin chronicler Shane MacThomais. Photo: Damien Eagers

Cormac Murphy

TRIBUTES have been paid following the sudden death of Glasnevin Cemetery historian Shane MacThomais, a well-known chronicler of the 1916 Rising.

His body was found in the grounds of the Dublin graveyard. No foul play is suspected.

Mr MacThomais (46), a father-of-one, was a resident historian and popular tour guide at the cemetery.

His father Eamonn MacThomais was also an historian, author and broadcaster.

George McCullough, chief executive of graveyard operator Glasnevin Trust, described Shane MacThomais as a much loved and respected colleague.

"His rich knowledge and deep appreciation of the heritage of Glasnevin and its place in Ireland's history, together with his extraordinary ability to engage with people, has been an integral part of the visitor's experience to Glasnevin.

"He was not only a colleague but a personal friend to all. All at Glasnevin Trust, board members and staff, extend their heartfelt and deepest sympathy to Shane's mother, daughter and his entire family. He is a truly irreplaceable loss to us all," Mr McCullough said.

SIPTU general president, Jack O'Connor, said: "Shane worked closely with SIPTU on a number of events in recent years, in particular during the centenary of the 1913 Lockout. His enthusiasm for the working class history of Dublin shone through in all he did.

"His entertaining and informative manner brought the history of Glasnevin Cemetery to new audiences."

Mr MacThomais, whose body was discovered on Thursday, "paid particular attention in ensuring the last resting places of those too often forgotten in Irish history were properly marked", Mr O'Connor said.

Mr MacThomais was a regular TV and radio contributor and worked in the James Joyce Centre as its librarian and archivist. On Twitter, RTE's Rachael English described him as a "wonderful, informative and enthusiastic radio guest".

He first came to Glasnevin Trust as a 15-year-old on a FAS scheme and progressed to become its resident historian.

Irish Independent

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