On Parnell Square, north of the Liffey, the Garden of Remembrance stands as a tribute to all of those Irish whose lives were lost in the pursuit of freedom from foreign rule. During her May 2011 visit to Dublin, amid some controversy, Queen Elizabeth of Britain, accompanied by Irish President Mary McAleese, laid a wreath in the garden, marking the beginning of a new era in Anglo-Irish relations.
The garden was designed by Dáithí P. Hanly. In addition to the sunken cruciform water-feature, its focal point is Oisín Kelly's sculpture, 'The Children of Lir', a symbol of rebirth and resurrection. The mythological story of the Children of Lir tells of their transformation into swans by the magic of an evil step-mother who dooms them to swim the waters of Ireland for nine hundred years. In the context of the Garden of Remembrance, the statue symbolizes the rebirth of Ireland after the trauma of over seven hundred years of foreign rule.
Dublin poet Liam MacUistin's "We Saw a Vision", an aisling style poem, written in Irish, English and French is emblazoned on the stone wall at the same end of the garden as the sculpture.
We Saw A Vision
In the darkness of despair we saw a vision,
We lit the light of hope,
And it was not extinguished,
In the desert of discouragement we saw a vision,
We planted the tree of valour,
And it blossomed
In the winter of bondage we saw a vision,
We melted the snow of lethargy,
And the river of resurrection flowed from it.
We sent our vision aswim like a swan on the river,
The vision became a reality,
Winter became summer,
Bondage became freedom,
And this we left to you as your inheritance.
O generation of freedom remember us,
The generation of the vision.
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