New Forest Park garden to honor heroes of Ireland’s Easter Rising

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A first-of-its-kind garden for the United States will soon be built in Forest Park.

The garden will be known as the 1916 Garden of Remembrance, to commemorate a century since the Easter Rising in Dublin that is credited for modern day democracy in Ireland.

So what’s the significance to Springfield? Congressman Richard Neal says a lot, actually.

Neal said Springfield played an important role in raising funds that were directed to the rising in Dublin on Easter of 1916. He said people who eventually settled in Springfield were wanted men in connection with that uprising, and that the U.S. Constitution laid the groundwork for the Irish proclamation.

This space will be an area of quiet reflection in honor of those killed, fighting for freedom.

“You have to fight for what you feel is right, and these men did that back in 1916, and we continue to do that through the United States by the principles that were brought to us by those men who fought for the independence over there,” Dan Walsh of Springfield said.

When the garden is complete this May, it will feature seven oak trees in honor of the seven founders of the Irish proclamation. There will also be a replica in stone from Ireland of the proclamation, and two very large flags flying above: one Irish and one American.

The Easter Rising was ultimately unsuccessful for the rebels, but the Irish War of Independence began the following year, with Irish independence fully recognized in 1921.

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