The Irish Peace Park

The Irish Peace Park is a war memorial for the Irish soldiers who were killed, injured, or missing in the First World War. The monument is close to where the Second Battle of Mesen was fought in June 1917. Inside the park, there is a central round tower. The 30.5-meter high tower is designed in the traditional design of an Irish round tower. These round towers were probably built in the 10th century by the Celts as a defense against the Vikings. Today, there are still about 65 of these towers in Ireland.

Picture by Pixabay

The stones used to line the outside of the tower are largely Irish rubble stones. These stones come from St. Mary's Hospital in Mullingar. This hospital was built between 1846 and 1849, during which time there was a major famine that left an estimated 1 million Irish people dead and another 1 million Irish immigrants abroad. The tower has a diameter of 6.3 m - 4.9 m and has a conical roof. The inner wall of the tower is built in solid concrete blocks.

The tower was inaugurated after an 11 a.m. ceremony on November 11, 1998, by President Mary McAleese of Ireland, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, and King Albert II of Belgium. The design of the tower also has a unique aspect that ensures that the sun only illuminates the interior at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the anniversary of the armistice that ended the war. An annual commemoration ceremony is held in the park at the armistice.