‘Circle of Life’ donor commemoration park reaches public consultation stage
By Martina Nee
Salthill Park has been chosen as the location of a special national garden of commemoration and thanksgiving for organ and tissue donors, a project which will be available for public consultation in early August.
The national garden of commemoration project, entitled the Circle of Life, is to be located in the strategic and beautifully sited seafront in Salthill Park and is meant to reflect the spirit of giving as well as the enduring legacy which defines the lives of organ donors. According to the Strange Boat Donor Foundation, which created the project in partnership with Galway City Council, the garden will, through its mix of imagery, symbolism, and sentiment, engender feelings of positive transformation, healing, and hope.
Commenting on the project, Fine Gael city councillor Padraig Conneely said: “The creation and development of this very special and unique national public garden will commemorate and give thanks for the lives and generosity of spirit of the people of Ireland who give the ‘gift of life’ to others through organ donation.”
Cllr Connelly, who is also chairperson of the city council’s recreation and amenity special committee added: “The proposed commemoration garden will provide a place of comfort and inspiration for all affected by issues relating to organ donation and a place of thanksgiving for those who have received the ‘gift of life’s new possibility’. It will also promote and further the cause of organ donation.”
The overall design (60 metres in diameter) will consist of a central stone sculpture area, surrounded by rich luxuriant vegetation, which together will create the form of the symbolic hawthorn flower (traditionally associated with emotional and physical healing of the heart). There will also be a series of pathways along which the visitor is invited to walk, stone seating for contemplation, and an elevated area overlooking the sea for rest and reflection. Another interesting feature of the garden is that it will include stones taken from iconic heritage sites from each of the 32 counties of Ireland and so will represent donors from every county. The universality of the life giving cause of organ donation will be reflected by the inclusion of international representational stone tablets gifted to the garden from the five continents; each sourced from a site associated with the advancement of humanity.
It is understood that the Circle of Life project will be on the agenda of the October city council meeting seeking the approval of the elected members.