Over the past several years I have made quite a few trips to Ireland – alone and with tour groups. I have explored historical sites, tracked down ancient round towers, and shared the camaraderie of local folks at music sessions in countless pubs. But on my trip in October of this year, I experienced something very moving. I must admit I did not know it existed – the Ringfinnan Garden of Remembrance in Kinsale.
This Garden is dedicated to the memory of Father Michael Judge, Chaplain in the New York Fire Department and to the 343 courageous firefighters and first responders who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001.
The Garden is such a peaceful, serene area. There is a tree for each of the fallen firefighters, with a larger one for Father Judge. Each of the trees has the name and company of one of the fallen. Some of the trees include a picture of the individual to who the tree is dedicated. The Garden was initiated by Kathleen Murphy, a nurse in New York City. She was born in Kinsale, and her family continues to reside there.
Upon our arrival at the Garden, we were welcomed by pipers, who escorted us to the site. At the Garden we had a short prayer and dedication and were then given flags and the name of one of the fallen, which we then went through the garden seeking our particular tree, and placed the flag on the tree.
What a wonderful experience that was. It is so fantastic to know that there are folks in Ireland who have done so much to memorialize the fallen of 9/11.