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Garda Memorial Garden

Garda Memorial Garden

Recently I wrote an article on the Garda Museum. A special exhibit
Included in the museum is a poignant reminder of members who have
died in the course of their duty. The museum also directs the visitor to
the Garda Memorial Garden situated in the grounds of the castle some
short distance away.

The first member of the newly founded Garda Síochána to lose their life
was Henry Phelan, a twenty-two year old recruit from County Laois
stationed at the Callan in County Kilkenny. A keen Hurler he had gone
with friends on a mission to buy sliotars (balls used in Hurling) when he
was approached by three armed men and shot on November 14th 1922.
Another fatality from 1995 is Sergeant Paul Reid of Burnfoot County
Donegal. He was killed while serving with The United Nations Protection
Force in Yugoslavia and is the only Garda death on a UN mission. The
most recent fatality was Detective Garda Colm Horkan who was killed in
June 2020. Since the beginning of the Garda Síochána some eighty-
nine members have lost their lives while on duty serving the public.
These men and women go to work every day knowing there is a risk of
injury or death.

For the inclusion of all those members who have died while on active
duty there is the Garda Memorial Garden, situated in the Dubhlinn
Gardens in Dublin Castle. It officially opened 15th May 2010. Prior to the
opening of this memorial garden the Garda Role of Honour had only
commemorated officers who had died violently in the course of their

To get to the Garda Memorial Garden you can take the main entrance to
the Dubhlinn Garden. When you walk through take the turn left you will
see the entrance. Alternatively if you enter through the Ship Street
entrance to the castle you can enter the gardens at the Chester Beatty
forecourt. It’s worth a mention that if you do enter by this route you will
enter the memorial space for Veronica Guerin, Irish investigative
journalist who focused on organised crime in the Republic of Ireland,
and was murdered in a contract killing. This also has a nice garden area
with plenty of evergreen plants hedged and plenty of seating.

The Garda Memorial Garden is very special. A quiet and peaceful place,
it is the largest of the three side gardens in the Dubhlinn Garden. Set
into granite masonry on nine limestone plaques are the names of these
members who died in the course of their duty and are carved for
posterity. There is a specially created glass sculpture that

commemorates the sacrifice and sudden loss of the families left behind.
This work and the overall design of the garden is intended to reflect how
the premature deaths of loved ones leave a trace or imprint, like ripples
in a pool, on the lives of those left behind.

There is also a specially commissioned stone sculpture (designed by
Jason Ellis and entitled ‘Black Pool White Water’) and the theme of the
sculpture is of hope overcoming grief. The sculpture is in remembrance
of all deceased members of An Garda Síochána, the Dublin Metropolitan
Police and The Royal Irish Constabulary. There are two large benches in
the garden to sit down and take a minute and reflect on the memorial
and the beautiful garden surroundings that house the works. The well
kept hedges and plants are managed for wildlife and all the Dubhlinn
Gardens are part of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan.

There is an annual memorial service held in the gardens, usually in the
month of May the memorial was deferred in the Covid years but will take
place this year on 18th May between 12pm and 2pm.

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