Ceremony marks laying of foundation stone for cross of sacrifice
31 March 2014
On 31 March, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), in
partnership with the Glasnevin Trust, marked the completion of the
first phase of work to erect a Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin
Cemetery in Dublin.
This significant phase of the project was marked with the
laying of a foundation stone by The Secretary of State for Northern
Ireland, The Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers, MP and The Minister for
Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, TD.
Also in attendance were the British Ambassador to Ireland, His
Excellency Dominick Chilcott, Deirdre Mills, Director UK
Operations, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Chairman of
Glasnevin Trust, John Green.
The Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin is the first to be erected
in the Republic of Ireland. It will be an important addition to the
cemetery's existing memorial walls, which honour servicemen who
died in the First and Second World Wars, and compliments the work
the CWGC and the Trust recently completed to identify and mark more
than 200 war graves within the cemetery.
Designed for the CWGC after the First World War, by
renowned architect Sir Reginald Blomfield, the Cross of Sacrifice
represents the faith of the majority and the human sacrifice of all
Commonwealth war dead.
The Cross of Sacrifice is embedded with a bronze sword and can
be found in cemeteries across the globe, wherever Commonwealth
servicemen were laid to rest during and after the two world
Deirdre Mills, the CWGC's Director of UK Operations, said:
"The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is delighted that our joint
initiative to erect a Cross of Sacrifice in Glasnevin Cemetery has
reached this important milestone.
"Work to complete the Cross is on target, and when complete, it
will become an important focus for ongoing remembrance of those who
died in the two world wars.
We are extremely grateful to the Irish Government, public,
and the Glasnevin Trust, all of whom have done so much to support
our work of commemoration and remembrance in Ireland."
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Deenihan said: "In this
centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War, on the
foundation stone we lay today, a great memorial cross will be
erected in remembrance of all those who lost their lives in that
war and in the conflict that engulfed Europe and the world in 1939.
This monument will be completed to mark the centenary of the
outbreak of the Great War later this year, and will be a poignant
reminder - for this and future generations - of the many thousands
from Ireland who died in those wars and especially the 208 soldiers
who are buried in Glasnevin."
Addressing the gathering John Green, Chairman Glasnevin Trust
said: "This project is a symbol of how Ireland has moved on and
matured in its attitude towards our country men and women who
bravely gave their lives in World War 1 and World War 2. It
is playing a significant part in helping to reconcile the social
wounds that emerged almost a century ago when the different forms
of personal sacrifice of Ireland's youth both in the Great War and
the Easter Rising were harshly compared to each other. While we are
still reflecting on how we treated different allegiances and
traditions over the last 100 years, we might also consider the
powerful symbolism of Daniel O'Connell's stated purpose in
establishing Glasnevin Cemetery - 'to bury people of all religions
and none'. We have diligently followed O'Connell's
instruction, through all the conflicts, for 180 or so years here at
Ireland's necropolis and will continue to do so."
The unveiling of the Cross will take place later this year, with
both Irish and British representatives participating.
Click here to read
the full media release.