The Garden of Remembrance (Irish: An Gairdín Cuimhneacháin) is a memorial garden in Dublin dedicated to the memory of "all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom". It is located in the northern fifth of the former Rotunda Gardens in Parnell Square (formerly Rutland Square), a Georgian square at the northern end of O'Connell Street.
The Garden commemorates freedom fighters from various uprisings, including:
the 1798 rebellion of the Society of United Irishmen
the 1803 rebellion of Robert Emmet
the 1848 rebellion of Young Ireland
the 1867 rising of the Fenian Brotherhood
the 1916 Easter Rising of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army
the 1919-21 Irish War of Independence of the "Old" IRA
The site of the Garden is where the Irish Volunteers were founded in 1913, and where several leaders of the 1916 Rising were held overnight before being taken to Kilmainham Gaol. The Garden was opened in 1966 by President Eamon de Valera on the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, in which he had been a commander.
The Garden was designed by Dáithí Hanly. It is in the form of a sunken cruciform water-feature. Its focal point is a statue of the Children of Lir by Oisín Kelly, symbolising rebirth and resurrection, added in 1971.
In 1976, a contest was held to find a poem which could express the appreciation and inspiration of this struggle for freedom. The winner was Dublin born author Liam Mac Uistin, whose poem "We Saw a Vision" an aisling style poem written in Irish, French, and English on the stone wall of the monument. The aisling ("vision") form was used in eighteenth-century poems longing for an end to Ireland's miserable condition.
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 your inheritance.
O generation of freedom remember us, The generation of the vision."
In 2004 it was suggested that as part of the redesign of the square the Garden of Remembrance itself might be redesigned. This led to the construction of a new entrance on the garden's northern side in 2007.