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Photographer's Note

This is a shot of the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge in central Dublin.

What I liked about this scene was the mother and child cooling down by bathing their feet in the fountain in the center of the shot. Dublin does not often see long periods of blue skies and heat, but currently Ireland is experiencing a heat wave that looks set to break all records. As a result, people across the city are enjoying the city parks and its easy to find people splashing about in the fountains and ponds.

The memorial itself is dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War of 1914–1918 out of over 300,000 Irishmen who served in all armies. It also commemorates all other Irish men and women who at that time served, fought and died in Irish regiments of the Allied armies, the British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, South African and United States armies in that war.

The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens who was already famous at the time for designing a number of sites in Ireland and Europe. This war memorial is considered one of the most outstanding of all the memorials he designed around the world.

Work commenced on the 60 acre site in 1932. The site is ideal, being in a sunken location right next to the river Liffey. Construction of the site was to provide as much employment as possible, and 50% of the workers were ex British Army, and 50% ex Irish army personnel. To provide as much work as possible, the use of mechanical devices at the site was prohibited and even granite blocks weighing almost 8 tons were manhandled into position.

The park consists of two sunken rose gardens surrounding central pools (one of which is visible here, the other is a mirror image on the far side of the park). There are four elaborate bookrooms (two visible here) each representing one of the four provinces of Ireland. These bookrooms contain elaborate manuscripts recording the names of those who died. In the center of the park is the stone of remembrance, a solid granite block weighing seven and a half tons and representative of an alter. This lies between the Cross of Sacrifice and the central avenue.

Surrounding the area is a number of terraces, lawns and avenues all filled with a very impressive array of woodland trees.

During the 1970's and 1980's the park fell into a state of disrepair due to a lack of staff to maintain it. In the 1980's the Office of Public Works undertook a restoration program to restore the gardens to their former glory. In September 1988 the gardens were formally dedicated by the four main churches of Ireland and opened to the public.

Its a strange thing that of all the parks in the city, this one seems to be one of the least popular. As can be seen here, even on a sunny warm day, there were not as many people about as you might expect. This is why some refer to this place as one of Dublin's hidden gems. The two rose gardens combined have over 4000 rose bushes which present a brilliant display of color in Summertime.

Thanks for looking!

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2469 W: 12 N: 5780] (20105)
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