Minister Madigan views ‘Fallen Leaves’ installation at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, TD, today (Thursday, 1 November) viewed the Fallen Leaves art installation in St. Patricks Cathedral. The installation is part of the Cathedral’s commemorative programme to mark the ending of World War I, for which Minister Madigan approved grant funding of €5,000 to support the programme.
In July 2014, coinciding with the outbreak of World War I, a Tree of Remembrance was created, inspired by the desolation of the battlefields and intended to offer a platform for personal remembrance and reflection. Since then, visitors to the Cathedral have been invited to leave a message on a leaf shaped piece of card on or near the tree for someone who has been affected by conflict.
The Cathedral estimates that up to 220,000 ‘leaves’ have been received to date – in remembrance of the Irish men and women who served in World War I – and these are mounted and displayed throughout the building, with over 36,000 ‘leaves’ now hung from the Cathedral’s ceiling, to symbolise the men and women who never returned home.
Minister Madigan said: “As we approach the centenary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the fighting in World War I, I am honoured to have the opportunity to view the beautiful and very moving ‘Fallen Leaves’ installation in St Patrick’s Cathedral. Each of these leaves represents one of the men and women from across the island of Ireland, who sacrificed their lives in World War I. They never fulfilled their hope of a safe return to their loved ones from the mud and despair of the battlefields, leaving families and communities devastated by their loss.
“I commend the Very Reverend Dr William Morton, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, and his team for their vision and imagination in creating this vivid and thought-provoking installation. Artistic endeavours, such as this, have an important role in supporting people of all ages as they reflect upon the difficult and sensitive legacies surrounding Ireland’s participation in World War I.
“During the Decade of Centenaries, we have shone a light, in many cases for the first time, on the stories of these men and women, from the island of Ireland, who served and gave their lives in World War I. We have explored, with respect and compassion, the differing motivations of those who fought – many driven by complex ideals and aspirations and others driven by economic necessity or a hunger for adventure. In doing so, we have reached out to one another in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding, to acknowledge our shared humanity and continue our journey towards strengthening peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland.”