SEVEN native Irish trees representing the seven signatories of the Proclamation are a poignant living symbol in a Laois garden.
The second phase of the garden of remembrance will be unveiled in Raheen this weekend at a ceremony with major significance for both county and country.
The garden at Colt Cross on the N7 between Portlaoise and Abbeyleix is the first 1916 garden of remembrance in Ireland. The first phase opened this time last year and the second will be unveiled at 7pm on Saturday 23 April before a large crowd of dignitaries and locals.
The garden is a government initiative, promoted by Seanad Éireann and is grant-aided by Laois County Council under the 1916 commemoration fund. The second phase will be officially opened by cllr John Joe Fennelly, who supported the project from its inception.
The magnificent garden includes seven native Irish trees representing the seven signatories as well as the tricolour and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic etched on a marble plaque.
This year, the organising committee is focusing on local volunteers, both men and women, who participated in the 1916 Rising and the events leading up to it. A committee spokesman commented: “It is appropriate that Laois has the first garden of remembrance, as it is officially recognised that Laois is the site of the first shots fired at Easter 1916, only five kilometres from the garden.”
The garden complements the nearby memorial at Clonadadoran, which was erected 20 years ago to commemorate those opening shots.
The committee paid tribute to many sponsors that supported the project this year and last year, including Manor Stone, Ballacolla; T&C Garden Centre, Mountmellick; John Galvin, Colt; Dunne’s Hardware, Abbeyleix; Shiels Quarries, Shanahoe; Tony Kavanagh, Colt; and Pat Nagle Memorials of Killorglin, Co Kerry.
The event is open to the public and the opening ceremony will be followed by refreshments in Eamon A’ Chnoic in Raheen.