The Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin Cemetery (Photo: © Michael St Maur Sheil)

Cross of Sacrifice dedicated to Ireland's dead of both World Wars unveiled in Dublin

Posted on on 31 July 2014
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A Cross of Sacrifice honouring Irishmen and women who died serving with British and Commonwealth forces in the First and Second World Wars has been unveiled in Dublin.

The ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery was carried out by the Irish President, Michael D.Higgins, and the Duke of Kent, President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 

On eve of the First World War Centenary, President Higgins insisted that the conflict shouldn't be left 'a blank space' in Irish history.

He said: "On an occasion such as this we eliminate all the barriers that have stood between those Irish soldiers whose lives were taken in the war, whose remains for which we have responsibility, and whose memories we have a duty to respect."

The Cross of Sacrifice, symbol of remembrance at Commonwealth war cemeteries worldwide, is the first such memorial in the Republic.

All of the island of Ireland was part of the UK in the First World War.

Lasting tribute

The Duke of Kent said: “The Cross of Sacrifice we dedicate today, is an important step in the continuing process of recognising and remembering those Irishmen and women who died in the two world wars. 

"It represents a lasting tribute to their sacrifice and it is my hope, in the years to come, that memorials such as these continue to inspire successive generations to remember.”

Hundreds of thousands of Irishmen and women served with the British and Commonwealth armed forces; as many as 60,000 are estimated to have died. More than 200 are buried at Glasnevin Cemetery.

The Northern Ireland Secretary, Theresa Villiers, represented the British Government at the ceremony.

Designed after the First World War by the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield, the Cross of Sacrifice represents the faith of the majority and the human sacrifice of all Commonwealth war dead.

Deirdre Mills, the CWGC’s Director of UK Operations, said: "We are extremely grateful to the Irish Government, public, and the Glasnevin Trust, all of whom have done so much to support our work of commemoration and remembrance in Ireland.”

Sources: Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Office of the President of Ireland

Images courtesy of Michael St Maur Sheil

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News