GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE IN ISLANDBRIDGE
The sunken Garden of Remembrance surrounds a Stone of Remembrance of Irish granite symbolising an altar, which weighs seven and a half tons. The dimensions of this are identical to First World War memorials found throughout the world. During the construction phase in order to provide as much work as possible the use of mechanical equipment was restricted, and even granite blocks of 7 and 8 tonnes from Ballyknocken and Donnelly’s quarry Barnaculla were manhandled into place with primitive tackles of poles and ropes. On completion and intended opening in 1939 (which was postponed) the trustees responsible said: “It is with a spirit of confidence that we commit this noble memorial of Irish valour to the care and custody of the Government of Ireland”.
The Stone of Remembrance is a standardised design for war memorials that was designed in 1917 by the British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens for the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC).
It was designed to commemorate the dead of World War I, to be used in IWGC war cemeteries containing 1,000 or more graves, or at memorial sites commemorating more than 1,000 war dead. Hundreds were erected following World War I, and it has since been used in cemeteries containing the Commonwealth dead of World War II as well. It is intended to commemorate those “of all faiths and none”, and has been described as one of Lutyens’ “most important and powerful works”, with a “brooding, sentinel-like presence wherever used”.
The geometry of the stone structure was “based on studies of the Parthenon”. According to the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs each stone is 3.5 metres long and 1.5 metres high.
It was designed using the principle of entasis. This involved incorporating subtle curves into the design, so that the stone does not have straight sides, but has circular lines that if extended would form a sphere 1,801 feet and 8 inches (549.15 metres) in diameter. The effect of the stone monument has been attributed to its geometry: “…its curious power and symbolic strength derive from its careful proportions and the application of a subtle entasis to all its surfaces.”