Congressman Richard E. Neal, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Irish Vice-Consul Meg Laffan, Parks, Recreation and Building Management Executive Director Patrick Sullivan, Parks Chairman Brian Santaniello, and city officials broke ground on a 1916 Garden of Remembrance in the Rose Garden at Forest Park in recognition of the centennial anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916 in Ireland. The garden's construction is in accordance with the Irish Government and is the first of its kind in the United States. Upon completion in May, the garden will feature seven oak trees to represent the seven signatories of the Irish Proclamation, a stone replica from Ireland of the proclamation, and two flag poles permanently displaying the American and Irish flags. It will be an enduring living memorial to the men and women who died fighting for Irish independence.
The Springfield 1916 Garden of Remembrance was inspired by the vision of Irish landscape artist Diarmund Gavin, and was designed at the request of the City of Springfield Department of Parks, Recreation and Building Management by GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc. The initiative was developed by Senator Mark Daly of Ireland, a member of the government's committee on commemorations, and endorsed by Heather Humphries, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht.