O Donnovan Rossa (skibbereen)
Cathal O’Meara Landscape Architects worked with Cork County Council Architects Department to create a memorial park for the Centenary of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral. This event marked a turning point in the birth of the Irish Republic.
Invoking the specific cultural significance of Irish trees and woodlands is a significant theme in this design proposal. This proposal uses 2 principal native species to create a sacred grove of trees or a fidneimheadh.
This central grove of trees is designed to accommodate a memorial event and to define a sacred space. This space is created with 2 principal trees species. The Yew tree (Taxus baccata) will appear as a sharp clipped structural element – a hedge, creating a sense of refuge and providing a rear wall to the seating areas.
In Irish tradition the Yew tree is usually associated with death, eternity and the after life.
The birch trees (Betula pendula) will form the main structural element and will appear as a circle of trees enveloping the Corten Steel Sculptures, the seating and the Yew hedging.
In Irish tradition the Birch tree is associated with Birth, Youth and Rebirth after death.
In the oration given by Pearse at the grave of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, Pearse quotes the following lines “Life springs from death, and from the graves of patriot men and women spring live nations”. This design is a literal interpretation of these lines, as within 9 months from the death of O Donnovan Rossa (as signified by the Yew Tree) came the 1916 Rising and eventually the birth of the Nation (signified by the Birch Tree).