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War Memorial Gardens

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If you fancy a bit more than flowers, and hearken for some history, The War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, Dublin 8, are a touching tribute to the 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in the 1914 - 1918 First World War. This garden is amongst the most famous of war memorial gardens in Europe. The names of all the fallen are contained in the beautiful granite book rooms in the garden on stunningly illustrated manuscripts. It is also a perfect contemplative garden, bursting with hundreds of roses, encircled by herbaceous borders and yew hedges.

The gardens were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and one of Britain's most favoured architects of the 20th century and a great English memorialist. His works include one of the royal palaces of New Delhi. He also designed numerous war memorials, primarily the infamous Cenotaph tomb in London. Many people regarded the War Memorial Gardens were seen as a dedication to the British Army - but it is not - it simply remembers the sacrifice of Irishmen during the war. Therefore is took decades to complete the monument and park, long after the end of the First World War.

The elaborate layout contains a beautiful sunken rose garden surrounding the Stone of Remembrance of Irish granite; a symbolic altar weighing nearly eight tons, with a great stone cross directly behind it. The Stone's dimensions are identical to all other First World War memorials around the globe. The Great Cross can also be viewed across the calm waters of the fountains with obelisk style pillars. These pillarss surround the "altar" stone and appear like candles.

The colour palate of the rose garden is simple but effective, but the rose bushes are there in droves as well as large swathes of green grass . When in full flower, the sight is stunning. A series of avenues bordered with lines of trees ripple out from a "temple" and provide an impressive and fitting approach to the central commemorative area. Each avenue is planted with different varieties of trees. The garden offers panoramic views and spectacular gardens befitting a tribute to fallen heroes. With so many city visitors heading to the nearby Phoenix Park, the War Memorial Gardens are blessedly tranquil.

The Memorial was erected and dedicated to the memory of all those who lost their lives in World War 1 (Canada's National War Memorial was opened in 1939), and is "the symbol of Remembrance in memory of a Nation's sacrifice". The inscription on the stone states, 'Their name liveth for evermore'. The park now hosts a range of commemorative ceremonies during the year.

Generally 1 to 2 hours would be plenty in this park. As there is no café on site, you may prefer to pack a picnic and stretch out on the long lawns.

Entrance is from South Circular Road, Islandbridge or from Colbert Road at the Phoenix Park end.

Bus route numbers 51, 68 and 69 all stop here from Aston Quay.

Entrance is free.
Gardens Open:
Monday to Friday 08.00am
Saturday and Sunday 10.00am
Gardens Close: According to Daylight hours
Access to Bookrooms: by arrangement with local management

    

 

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