The Office of Public Works
The Irish National War Memorial Gardens
The Irish National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge, Dublin, were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944), and commemorate the memory of the Irish men and women who died in the First World War. The initial impetus for the scheme was decided in 1919, and a Memorial Committee appointed to raise funds. Various locations for the memorial were discussed, until the present site was granted to the project in 1929. The public park and interior memorial lawn that exist today were put in place during the 1930s, using a construction team of ex-servicemen drawn in equal proportion from both the British Army and the Irish National Army. The Gardens have figured strongly in peacekeeping ceremonies (the first ceremony to commemorate the Irish war dead, that was attended by a Taoiseach, took place there in 2006), and remain the focus of commemorative events today (the Gardens were a key location on the itinerary of Queen Elizabeth II in 2011).
The site chosen for the Gardens lies on the banks of the River Liffey, and was known as Longmeadows. It is around fifty acres in size. Its location next to this section of the Liffey meant that it was an important ancient and medieval fording point. The earliest Viking burials were discovered in the vicinity in the early nineteenth century. The most recent excavations in 2008 uncovered a grave which contained a sword, spearhead, and ringed pin. In an era when the Liffey was unconstrained by its modern quays, and spread far wider than it does today, Islandbridge was the first navigable point. The Irish National War Memorial Gardens therefore occupy a space that was important at many different points in Irish history.
Today, the location of the Gardens mean that they are a popular recreational destination for both the local community and international visitors alike. The pathways between the rose gardens, tree avenues, and herbaceous borders allow for pleasant walking. The presence of many boatclubs, mainly along the north side of the Liffey, mean that the park is a significant hub for rowing, and other water sports, in Dublin. The 250m-long weir, dating to the 13th century, attracts a steady stream of anglers who fish its salmon and trout.
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Green Flag winner 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019, 2019/2020, 2021/2022 and 2022/2023
An Taisce Green Heritage Site award 2018/2019, 2019/2020, 2021/2022 and 2022/2023
Conservation Management Plan link below