Garden of Remembrance

IMG_0532At the northern end of Parnell Square (just around the corner from our hotel), there is a beautiful small park dedicated to the men and women who’ve died in the pursuit of Irish freedom. This lovely Garden of Remembrance marks the spot where several leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were held overnight before being taken to Kilmainham Gaol. It was also where the Irish Volunteers movement was formed in 1913.

The park also commemorates those who died in other conflicts in the struggle for Irish freedom, notably: the 1798 rebellion; the 1803 rebellion; the Young Ireland rebellion; the Fenian uprising in the 1860s; the land wars, and the Irish War of Independence between 1919 and 1922.

Designed by Daithí Hanly, the garden was opened by President Éamon de Valera in 1966, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. In the center of the garden’s well-kept lawn is a cruciform reflecting pool. A mosaic on the floor of the pool depicts abandoned, broken swords, pears and shields, symbolizing peace. The focal point at the west end of the garden is a large bronze sculpture (1971) by Oisín Kelly of the legendary Children of Lir, who were changed into swans by their stepmother. The statue symbolizes the rebirth of the Irish nation following 900 years of struggle for independence from England and, later, the United Kingdom, much as the swans were “reborn” following 900 years.

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