Without a doubt, the Garden of Remembrance is one of the most peaceful, quietly powerful gardens of Ireland. The garden is located at the northern end of Parnell Square at the end of O’Connell Street in North Central Dublin. Designed by Daithi Hanly, it was established in 1966 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. It is one of the gardens of Ireland that has been created by an Irish president. President Eamon de Valera officially founded the garden. The Garden of Remembrance is dedicated to the Irish people who died during the struggle for Irish independence from the British Crown. It is meant to be a place of quiet tribute and reflection. Many Irish gardens share its crisp, natural appearance, but the atmosphere in this garden of Ireland conveys a certain element of sadness, determination, courage, and remembrance.
The Easter Rising was an attempt by the Irish people to win independence through force. It was organized by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and the incident lasted from April 24 to April 30, 1916. Members seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed Ireland to be free from Crown control. The Rising lasted six days, after which the British were able to regain control. Its leaders were court-marshaled and executed. Many Irish people regard the event as a significant springboard to the creation of the Irish Republic. The actual site of the Garden of Remembrance marks where several leaders of the incident were held overnight before they were taken to Kilmainham Goal. Of all the gardens of Ireland, the Garden of Remembrance holds special significance for the Irish people.
Many Irish gardens have artwork, sculptures, and architecture. Within this small garden of Ireland, visitors can observe a sculpture crafted by Irish artist Osin Kelly. The sculpture depicts an old Irish legend about the children of Lir. The legend is that the four children were turned into swans by their stepmother. Ironically, in the center of the park, there is a large pond where swans sometimes swim. The plaque on the statue reads, “In the darkness of despair we saw a vision. We lit the light of hope and it was not extinguished. In the desert of discouragement we saw a vision. We planted the tree of valour and it blossomed. In the winter of bondage we saw a vision. We melted the snow of lethargy and the river of resurrection flowed from it. We sent our vision aswim like a swan on the river. The vision became a reality. Winter became summer. Bondage became freedom and this we left to you as our inheritance. O generations of freedom remember us. The generations of the vision.”
Admission is free to this garden of Ireland, and the park is open daily. It is a quiet, lovely garden, full of tribute and history. Similar to other Irish gardens, it is brilliantly green, with a refreshing, tranquil pond. The garden is a wonderful place to unwind and reflect after a busy day of Dublin sight-seeing.