Friday 23 June 2017

Idealism and poverty led them to march to battle

The sacrifice of 3,500 fallen Irish soldiers is recognised at the eerily enchanting National War Memorial Gardens

Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a ceremony to mark the Battle of the Somme Centenary at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, Dublin Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a ceremony to mark the Battle of the Somme Centenary at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, Dublin Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Blood-red roses fringe the lily ponds that commemorate the fallen. A weeping willow, pale green like a sentry, stands out from the foliage surrounding the pergolas of the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, Dublin.

Almost 1,000km from the battlefields of France, where the blood of over 1.3million British, German, French and Irish soldiers soaked into the farmland by the sides of the River Somme, the memory of the battle that raged between July and November 1916 has not faded. Yesterday, 100 years on, was an occasion for marching bands and military commands and the pomp and circumstance that mark the official commemoration for the 3,500 Irishmen who fell in that infamous battle.

But the memorial gardens to the war dead by the side of the River Liffey are mostly enchanting for their silence, in stark contrast to the pounding of guns, the roar of tanks and artillery and the cries of the stricken and fallen who long ago died on the battlefields it commemorates.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Don't Miss