Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Garden of Remembrance

At the top of O'Connell Street on the North side of the River Liffey sits the quiet Garden of Remembrance.  It was built in 1966, the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 uprising, but pays tribute to, "All those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom."

The Garden of Remembrance looking East to West Dublin, Ireland
The Garden of Remembrance looking East to West
Today, the garden is a quiet place of refuge in the loud city.  Surrounded by an iron fence and hedges, the city seems to disappear when crossing the entrance gate.  At the East end looking West, the base of a large cross-shaped pool is seen pointing to a sculpture and memorial at the far end.

In the pool, tile mosaics depict weapons and shields, some of which are broken.  These submerged weapons symbolize the ancient Irish Celtic custom of throwing weapons in a lake or river to seal peace agreements with warring tribes.

Weapons in the water at the Garden of Remembrance, Dublin, Ireland
Weapons in the water
On the Western edge is a large sculpture of the Children of Lir, an Irish legend of four children who were turned into swans.  The swans here are clearly a symbol of the peace Ireland currently (and hopefully permanently) enjoys.

Children of Lir sculpture in the Garden of Remembrance, Dublin, Ireland
Children of Lir

Garden of Remembrance from West to East Dublin, Ireland
View from West to East (near the sculpture)

Carved on the wall behind the sculpture of the Children of Lir is a poem written in Irish, English, and French.  The poem is titled, "We Saw a Vision" in English ("An Aisling" in Irish) and the repeated title within the poem reminds this American of Martin Luther King's speech, "I Have a Dream."  Full text of the poem in English and Irish can be read here.  

On a visit to Dublin, make a quick visit to this place of reverence, if only to rest your weary legs after a long day of walking.  Be aware that the garden does keep limited hours, and closes in the early evening and on Sunday.

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