For the spooky season that’s in it, Alan Lambert hops on The Gravedigger Bus Tour, and gets more than he bargained for!
Heading for The Gravedigger Bus Tour, I was aware that the advertisements promise all kinds of creepy experiences, so I was sceptical about whether I would enjoy this evening or not.
Boarding a re-purposed double-decker bus, I saw the dry ice and blacked-out windows, along with the tack and tat I had been waiting for, and was sure my extremely low expectations were about to be met. However, from that moment on, the tour just got better and better. The blacked-out windows ensure you are focused on the tour, rather than distracted by the goings on outside the bus, and you never know which bit of tat might attack you next.
This isn’t a tour where you are left to your own devices while waiting to get to the next stop, the guide, a ghoulish plague victim, immediately starts his horrific tale before we’ve even left the pick up point at College Green, telling a story of Trinity College during the black plague.
The first stop at the back of St. Audoen’s Church is a fantastic spot for a ghost story at this time of year. Shrouded in darkness, this gothic location will leave you looking over your shoulder in fear that the serial killer in the story might pick you off while everyone else is engrossed by the tour guide.
Moving on to Bully’s Acre cemetery and Kilmainham Gaol, you’ll discover more spooky stories from a graveyard which has existed for more than a millennium, and the haunting of the famous jail told from the point of view of a former inmate.
The final stop on the tour is the gate that divides Glasnevin (Prospect) Cemetery from The Gravediggers pub, where you’ll need to be prepared to be a lookout for a watchman or a victim of dissection, but it’s ok because you get a free shot afterwards and a chance to drink in one of Dublin’s best pubs.
The three staff (two actors and Sean the bus driver) went out of their way to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable evening, and perhaps it was a particularly jovial group, or perhaps it was their efforts, but the entire group seemed to genuinely have a great time.
Hearing stories of plague victims, murderers, religious persecution, grave-robbing and body snatching, this journey is a cross between an episode of Horrible Histories, and a good ghost train ride. I would highly recommend The Gravedigger Bus Tour for anyone from young teenagers to people who were born closer to the time of the black plague!*
*There are strobe lights and genuinely jumpy moments on the tour, so may not be suitable for people with epilepsy or heart conditions.