The site of the first official shots fired in the 1916 Easter Rising was in Laois, so it is fitting that the first of many Irish memorial gardens to mark the 100th anniversary of 1916 is at the spot.
The garden will open this Friday April 24, exactly a year in advance, on the N7 at Colt Cross in Raheen at 7pm.
John Hosey is a member of the committee behind it, who have been working on anniversary celebrations for some time.
“The shots happened the night before the rising. A train was derailed by Laois volunteers as ordered by Padraig Pearse, and that’s when the shots were fired,” he said.
The memorial gardens are supported by Seanad Eireann who have allowed the group to open the first such garden in Ireland.
The Garden will commemorate all the local volunteers who participated in the 1916 Rising and the events leading up to it.
Following a national design, it will feature seven native Irish trees representing the seven signatories on the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, the Irish flag, and the Proclamation etched on a marble plinth.
“This is a very significant occasion for Raheen and the surrounding area and compliments the memorial at Clonadadoran which was erected almost twenty years ago to commemorate the first shots,” Mr Hosey said.
The Remembrance Garden will be officially opened by An Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Mr John Joe Fennelly.
It will be located beside the N7 at Colt Cross between Portlaoise and Abbeyleix.
The organising committee are promising a memorable evening, with refreshments available afterwards in Eamon A’ Chnoics. All are welcome.
The trees will be donated by T & C Garden Centre, Derryguile, Mountmellick.
Manor Stone are also donating the surrounding stonework and local man John Galvin is designing the flagpole.