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Commemorative play-garden: children of 1916

Launch of the Commemorative Play-garden for the 40 children who died in 1916
13th June 2019, St Audoen’s park, Dublin 8

The idea for a play-garden came about as a result of a series of consultations which took place all over the country in 2015 with 215 children and young people participating, as part of the Ireland 2016 ‘Seen and Heard’ programme. You can read more about the consultations here.

One of the aims of the consultations was to see how the young people of Ireland would like the children who died during the 1916 Rising to be remembered. They wanted to do this in two ways: to hold a commemorative event, which you can read more about here, and to have a permanent physical space in Dublin city to remember them by.  The play-garden is going to be the permanent and lasting legacy to those children and their names have been inscribed in stone. The young people wanted a place where these young people could be celebrated and remembered.

The event was formally launched by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone and the Mayor of Dublin. Presenter Joe Duffy is the author of a book about the 40 children and he was also invited to address the crowd. Dino and Niamh, formerly of St Audoen’s NS and Erin Mac an tSaoir, formerly of Dublin City Comhairle na nÓg spoke about their involvement in the consultations and the steering committee to make the play-garden come to life.

They had a very active role to play in its development over the past two years taking part in a number of meetings and two mini consultations. At these meetings young people were asked for their views on how the playgarden should look and what should be included in it. Some of their ideas included murals, a mosaic wall, commemorative benches and handprints. It was also really important to them that the garden should include flowers and make use of the natural beauty within the playground itself.

After these meetings, a steering committee was established including the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, architects, artists, Dublin City Council and of course the young people who had been involved in the consultations. They presented their ideas to the committee about how they would like to see the garden. Some of the things they came up with are on view today and Phase II developments are on the way which will include some more of their ideas.