WOODENBRIDGE WWI MEMORIAL
WOODENBRIDGE FIRST WORLD WAR MEMORIAL
WOODENBRIDGE, CO. WICKLOW
In 2013 Austen Associates was approached by the Woodenbridge Development Association to create an appropriate space honouring the memory of the Wicklow WW1 heroes. The committee wanted a local Landscape Architect to assist them in their endeavour. A series of public meetings were held and there was a strong contribution from relatives of the war heroes. A site was chosen, located adjacent to the River Aughrim, overlooking the historic spot where, on the 18th September 1914, John Redmond delivered a speech to local Irish volunteers calling on them to join the British Army and support the cause of Home Rule on the battlefields of France. The committee had painstakingly gathered the names of over 1,000 fallen from Wicklow and wanted them all to be remembered. After lengthy consultation, it was decided that the Memorial Park should reflect the natural quality of the chosen site and should be a place of peaceful and dignified reflection; it should not however be overly sombre or austere. It was also noted that in the future the site would be part of a proposed cycle route from Arklow to Shillelagh.
The challenge for the design team was to create a scheme in which all 1,000 names would be clearly visible and legible whilst fitting in with the genus loci of the site. It was decided that the names would be displayed on local granite pieces that would be arranged to give a sense of enclosure that would have been experienced by the soldiers in the trenches. The existing Alder woodland and ruined bridge were retained on site and incorporated into the design. Local natural stone was used for paving, rock protection, kerbing and signage.