The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, will today (Saturday) attend a special concert to mark the centenary of the foundation of Leopardstown Park Hospital as a hospital and convalescent home for the care and treatment of soldiers who were disabled or injured in the British Armed Forces.
The concert is hosted by Mr Eugene Magee, the Chairman of the Board of Leopardstown Park Hospital, and comprises a joint performance by the Army Number 1 Band of the Defence Forces and the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment. Dr Eoin Kinsella's history of the hospital, entitled – Leopardstown Park Hospital 1917 – 2017: A Home for Wounded Soldiers' will also be officially launched at this event.
Speaking today, Minister Humphreys said:
“To the wounded and exhausted soldiers who returned home from the battlefields of World War 1, Leopardstown Park Hospital was a place of solace and refuge. They came home with life-altering physical injuries and the psychological scars of their experiences in the trenches. Leopardstown Park was one of over 100 voluntary hospitals established between 1914 and 1918 to help to meet their needs. Today, we also remember and pay tribute to the medical and nursing staff of the hospital, who treated the disabled soldiers with such compassion, kindness and dignity.
“Today's ceremony is set in the context of significant State commemorations this year at home and abroad to mark the key events of the First World War in 1917. Almost every community on the island of Ireland was affected by these transforming events. The Decade of Centenaries has provided an opportunity to remember those who fought and died and to reflect upon the complex narratives surrounding Ireland's participation in that War.
“By promoting commemorations that are inclusive and authentic and that seek to strengthen peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland, we promote a deeper exploration of differing perspectives on our shared history. We have developed a mature awareness of the context of the time, which is respectful of alternative perspectives. In doing so, we have continued our journey towards a society which is more understanding of our troubled past.”
Note to Editors:
This event follows recent significant commemorations on the island of Ireland and in Belgium to mark the centenary of the Battle of Messines Ridge and to commemorate the men of the 16th Irish Division and 36thUlster Division who fought side by side. On 24th June, the State commemorations of key events of World War I in 1917 will continue, with a ceremony to commemorate the death of Francis Ledwidge - the poet, Irish volunteer and soldier, who lost his life in the Battle of Passchendaele, - at the cottage where he was born in Slane, County Meath.