Landscape


The designed landscape of the Irish National War Memorial Gardens is of national and international significance for a number of reasons. Its location as an ancient fording point of the River Liffey means that it has always occupied an important focal point in the Dublin landscape. However, its essential role as a memorial to those lost in the First World War, and particularly its authorship by the celebrated Sir Edwin Lutyens, is what it is primarily known for today. These Gardens were to become Lutyens most famous work in Ireland, and are internationally recognised as a significant example of memorial landscape architecture.   

The Irish National War Memorial Gardens are divided into an informal and formal area. The formal area is located between the horseshoe road and the exterior fence, and comprises the central memorial lawn and radiating paths. The main features of this area are centred on the Stone of Remembrance. On either side of the Stone are the two fountains. These stand within a grassy lawn that is bordered by the four granite bookrooms and the enclosing wall. Looking down over the lawn is the Great Cross, standing high on stone steps. On either side of the bookroom pairs, hidden from view, are two sunken rose gardens containing around 4,000 roses, with lily ponds at their centre.


Built Heritage

The Irish National War Memorial Gardens contain a set of commemorative structures, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, which include the Temple, Bookrooms, Stone of Remembrance, and Cross, among others. Find out the meaning behind these structures, the style of their architecture, what is inside the Bookrooms, and what is inscribed on the Cross.

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Horticulture and Arboriculture

The War Memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens primarily as a garden, with separate areas devoted to different meanings. Find out what flowers, trees, and shrubs were chosen throughout the Gardens, what may have influenced Lutyens’ decisions, and the symbolic meanings behind the different landscaped areas.

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Views and Vistas

The views and vistas afforded by the design of the Gardens were deliberate and carefully drawn by Lutyens. Some of these views, such as the vista of the Gardens that is seen from the steep slopes of the Phoenix Park, have not changed through history. Find out more about historical views of the area, as well as the architectural cloistering of the memorial lawn, and the modern pathways that wind through the park.

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Pedestrian Gate

Temple

The plaque on the floor reads: “We have found safety with all things undying / The winds, and morning, tears of men and mirth / The deep night, and birds singing, and clouds flying / And sleep, and freedom, and the autumnal earth.”

Public Carpark

Pedestrian Gate

North Terrace

Eight holly trees originally stood as ‘generals’ on the North Terrace overlooking serried ranks of flowering cherries or ‘foot soldiers’.

Rose Garden

The sunken rose gardens have central lily ponds as focal points and are encircled by yew hedges.

Rose Garden

The sunken rose gardens have central lily ponds as focal points and are encircled by yew hedges.

Bookroom

The four granite bookrooms, representing the four provinces of Ireland, contain the books of remembrance as well as the Ginchy Cross.

Bookroom

The four granite bookrooms, representing the four provinces of Ireland, contain the books of remembrance as well as the Ginchy Cross.

Bookroom

The four granite bookrooms, representing the four provinces of Ireland, contain the books of remembrance as well as the Ginchy Cross.

Bookroom

The four granite bookrooms, representing the four provinces of Ireland, contain the books of remembrance as well as the Ginchy Cross.

Fountain

The obelisks at the centre of the broad-based fountains symbolise candles.

Fountain

The obelisks at the centre of the broad-based fountains symbolise candles.

War Stone

Weighing seven and a half tons, this is identical to First World War Stones found across the world, and resembles an altar.

Central Lawn

The lawn enclosed by a high dry limestone wall with granite piers.

Great Cross

On the cope of the wall at the cross is inscribed the words “To the memory of the 49,400 Irishmen who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-18”.

Pedestrian Gate