The Garden of Remembrance, Cloughjordan was officially opened on Monday 15th October 2018 by Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, Cllr. Mattie Ryan and Michelle Drysdale, great grand-daughter of Thomas MacDonagh.
This project brings to completion a programme embarked on for 2016 to commemorate the Centenary of 1916. In 2016 a programme of events was undertaken in Cloughjordan over the year and work commenced on a capital project to mark the occasion which included the Garden of Remembrance and the provision of a bronze statue of Thomas MacDonagh on Main St. The statue, sculpted by Mark Rode, was unveiled by his grand-daughter Muriel McAuley and her daughter, Michelle Drysdale, attended on Monday to jointly perform the official opening of the Garden of Remembrance with Cllr. Mattie Ryan.
The Garden is based across from MacDonagh Park, Cloughjordan and is located in a field acquired from the Williams family and many referred to how appropriate it is that the park should be provided at that particular location, giving the strong education focus of both MacDonagh and the late Roche Williams. Commemorative plaques on the benches in the Garden remember the contribution of Roche Williams in instilling pride of place in his pupils.
Funding for the project came from the Ireland 2016 Office, Tipperary County Council and the local community. The Garden was designed by Philip Blackwell, landscape architect and all were impressed with the various elements which include:
The contractors for the project are Nordon Landscapes.
The opening commenced with an Ecumenical blessing participated in by Rev. Fr. Pat Greed, Rev. Terry Mitchell and John Armitage. Speeches were given by Cllr. Mattie Ryan, Cathaoirleach, Tipperary County Council; Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive, Tipperary County Council; Michelle Drysdale, great grand-daughter of Thomas MacDonagh and Jim Casey, Chairperson of the Cloughjordan 2016 Committee. Joe Barry and Martin Fogarty of the Thomas McDonagh Pipe Band, Templemore played a lament on the pipes and then Tom Williams performed ‘the Ballad of Thomas MacDonagh’ and ‘the Woods at Knocknacree’ bringing to an end the formalities. The M.C. for the event was Rosemary Joyce, Tipperary County Council.
Speaking of her great grandfather, Michelle Drysdale said Thomas was a loyal, supportive, caring, empathetic man with not only a great sense of purpose but with a wonderful ability to gather people around him, put them at ease and acknowledge their value. “That”, she said, “is what makes community. To see value in everyone and to acknowledge the contributions each and every member can make with their talents, actions and attitudes”.
Cllr. Mattie Ryan said he hoped that the people of Cloughjordan and the many visitors to the village would continue to enjoy the garden for generations to come. “I know”, he said “that Cloughjordan will continue to display the pride in its heritage that is a strong feature of the village’s character”. He paid tribute to the local committee whose efforts enabled the development and completion of the Garden of Remembrance.