Friday, 29 August 2014

Irish National War Memorial Gardens (Islandbridge): not to miss!!!!

As you may have noticed, I normally only write about places we've been and we've liked: places we would visit again.

Amongst all the places we like and write about (restaurants, parks, towns...) we of course have our favourites.

Without a doubt, the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge are in this "elite" group of OUR FAVOURITES: what a place!

Just a little bit of history for the non locals: these gardens were built to remember the 49,400 soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War (1914-1918). It was built during 1930s (took quite a while to finish it during the difficult political situation the World was going through). One interesting thing about the construction is that 50% of the workers were World War I ex-British Army and the other 50% were ex-Irish Army men who had many difficulties in finding a job after the War finished. To be able to hire as much manpower as possible, the use of mechanical tools was very restricted in the construction works, and old building techniques were used... (exactly how things are done nowadays!) 

First of all: let me show you where they are - right opposite Phoenix Park (easy eh?). Here's the map:

Easy to reach and a well sized car park inside the park so we had absolutely no issues getting there.

First thing that caught my attention when we got out of the car is the lack of people: the place was almost empty! a lovely sunny inviting Saturday afternoon and...where was everybody? Probably visiting Phoenix Park next door? I would say so.

A second thing that I loved: once you start walking the broad avenues inside, you "feel" the nature around you: grass everywhere, trees, the smooth noise of the Liffey running down towards the Irish Sea.... you do not have the impression you're in the city, but miles and miles away - prefect place to de-stress after a hectic week in the office or at home with the kids/tiny monsters

We first went for a walk towards the dome temple. This temple marks the beginning of the avenue which ends at the bottom of the steps that you'll have to climb to get to the Central Lawn of the War Memorial monument.

A lovely walk! Dad was chatting with his brother (who's visiting us these days) while slowly approaching the Central Lawn, while the kids where playing behind them

Right in the center of the Central Lawn you'll se the "War Stone" a huge granite stone that weighs approx 7.5 tons (olé! not bad) symbolizing an altar. Lots of poppy wreaths at its feet. The stone is flanked on either side by fountains with obelisks symbolizing candles.

Behind it, the magnificent "Great Cross" with its truncated arms and in front of it a PERFECT football pitch! I really hope the 49,400 dead soldiers forgive us one day for playing in front of their memorial monument!!! If not all of them, maybe some???

At the end of each side of the Central Lawn there is a pair of Book Rooms which represent the four Provinces of Ireland and contain the books of Remembrance in which are inscribed the names of the 49,400 soldiers who died in the WWI. Unfortunately the Book Rooms are not open to the public, but they were useful  for Dad to take a sit and enjoy the afternoon sun :-). We're getting old my friends!

While the kids were playing soccer (sssh, don't tell anybody), I went to visit the Sunken rose gardens (beautiful!): full of colour, with a sunken pond in the middle and roses everywhere (I know, I know, what else could I find in a rose garden????, but these are literally full of roses!)

After a while of enjoying the weather, the place and the soccer, we decided to grab a bite somewhere in the area.

As said before, LOVED (with capitals) this place: absolutely impressive. Perfect for a walk (no problem to take the buggy), a nice afternoon enjoying a good book by the river, a family picnic, a game of soccer.... please visit! 


  1. Are dogs allowed in this beautiful place? I am afraid I may know the answer..? :(

    1. We saw several dogs in the gardens, yes! One of them looked a lot like Lala :-)