Posted by: marymarthatours | November 23, 2011

The Two Remembrance Gardens of Dublin

 Irish National War Memorial Gardens and Garden of Remembrance

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Armistice Day, November 11th, now known as Veterans Day in the US, is also known as Remembrance Day in parts of the Europe. The day was set aside to honor the members of the allied forces who were killed during World War I.

In Dublin, Ireland, the 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in World War I are honored at the beautiful Irish National War Memorial Gardens created by noted architect Edwin Lutyens. Although a memorial park was proposed as early as 1919, the garden took years to take shape. Not until the early 1930’s did construction work begin, and it wasn’t completed until 1939.


 Lutyen’s design includes a central green space with matching stone fountains and an impressive flight of steps leading up to the Cross of Sacrifice on one long side of the lawn. At each end of the lawn, two pavilions linked by pergolas lead into sunken rose gardens. The four pavilions, or Bookrooms, representing the four provinces of Ireland, hold the names of the dead.



After World War II, the garden suffered from neglect and by the early 1980’s had become dilapidated and forgotten. In the mid 1980’s the work of restoring the site was undertaken by the Office of Public Works, and the renewed garden was formally dedicated on 10 September 1988. In July 2006, President Mary McAleese, accompanied by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Members of the Irish Government, members of the armed forces and many other notables, met at the War Memorial Gardens to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

In May of 2011, President McAleese participated at another remarkable commemoration at the other Remembrance Garden in Dublin. There Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and President McAleese each laid a wreath to commemorate those who “gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom”. It was an amazing and symbolic event, perhaps the closest we’ll ever see to an apology for the centuries of English domination in Ireland.


The Garden of Remembrance was opened in 1966, 50 years after the Easter Rising and its aftermath inspired Irish independence. It commemorates not only those who died in that revolt, but all those who fought for Irish freedom from 1798 to 1921.

The Garden is located in Parnell Square at the north end of O’Connell Street. Designed by Daithi Hanly, the garden is simple and dignified. Its main features are a sunken cruciform pool with a mosaic floor depicting the discarded weapons of war and a stunning statue of the Children of Lir by Oisin Kelly.

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It is a garden where silence, respect, and reflection come naturally. I was particularly moved by the poem inscribed in Irish on the wall surrounding the statue. Thankfully, a plaque mounted nearby gives the English translation.


It was wonderful to visit these two Remembrance Gardens in Dublin during our Gardens of Ireland Tour. This November, I’m remembering them and the people they honor.

(by Mary)

Photo credit for picture of Queen Elizabeth and President McAleese: Belfast Telegraph, 2011 Getty Images.



  1. These were two of my favorite things to see in Dublin. Wish we had more time at Lutyens garden and maybe a guide…your research was very interesting!

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