Studio Negri and the Office of Public Works are undertaking a programme of upgrading, maintenance and conservation at the Garden of Remembrance, in preparation for the Commemoration of the Rising in 2016.
The works include the installation of a lift and ramp for universal access to the podium; the conservation of the Children of Lir sculpture; the installation of a new water system; repair of the reflective pool and redecoration of the railings.
The universal access upgrade of the Garden of Remembrance will allow access for all to both the sunken garden and the podium. The works comprise the removal of one flight of steps, which were constructed at the north entrance, to form a new lift shaft. The lift will be housed in a glass structure, to minimize the visual impact. A ramped bridge will connect the north entrance to the main podium.
Construction of the Garden of Remembrance started in March 1961 and was due to be complete for a ceremonial opening of the 50th Anniversary of the 1916 uprising, in Easter 1966.
Oisin Kelly proposed a design for the Garden sculpture in 1964, based on the Children of Lir legend, depicting the metamorphosis of the Children of Lir into Swans representing the change of men into history. The design was based on lines from the poem, ‘’Cath Cnuic An Air’’ [The Battle of the Hill of the Slaughter], which describes the legendary Fionn and his followers.
It was eventually agreed that the Children of Lir sculpture would be ‘’at once national and universal and make use of a true Romanticism that befits the type of men and quality of people being remembered’’
After completing the sculpture, Oisin Kelly commented in an interview with Una Lehane:
I would like people to get fond of it. You know the way people develop an affection for a statue the way they have an affection for Goldsmith outside Trinity College? I would like them to get attached to the Children of Lir in the same way.