Celebrated Glasnevin historian Shane MacThomais dies

Historian ensured 43 soldiers who died after WWI had proper memorial

The death has taken place of the Glasnevin cemetery historian Shane MacThomais , who was in his late 30s.

His body was found in the grounds of the cemetery yesterday afternoon. No foul play is suspected.

Mr MacThomais was involved in various historical campaigns involving the cemetery and the city. His father Eamonn had also been a noted historian.

He was instrumental in ensuring that 43 soldiers who died after returning from the First World War had a proper memorial and also in the recent refurbishment of O’Connell Tower which was bombed by loyalist terrorists in 1971.


Glasnevin cemetery trust chief executive George McCullough described Mr MacThomais as a “star” who had done so much to bring the past alive for so many people.

“We started Shane in Glasnevin when he was 15 years of age. He was a natural historian. He lived it, he breathed it, he taught it. He was always the star of the show here and a very good friend.”

He had been working on the Cumann na mBan centenary which is coming up on April 2nd and also the commemorations to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Independent Cllr Nial Ring said Mr MacThomais’s death had come as a shock to all those who knew him.

“His death leaves a real void in historical circles and his energy and commitment towards ensuring that history remained alive will not be forgotten. His enthusiasm for history was infectious and hopefully part of his legacy will be a memorable celebration of the 1916 Rising in two years time for which he has already done much background work” he added.

“Like his father Eamonn, Shane had a deep love of his city and his country and did his best to pass on this patriotism through education, writing and example” he concluded.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times