SIX hundred people gathered in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery yesterday to mark Christmas for those children laid to rest at the “angels” plot.
It was the third year of the blessing of remembrance and tree lighting ceremony to mark the tens of thousands of infant deaths and still births interred in the cemetery.
Families and relatives of the “angels” were in attendance as a Christmas tree was erected, the lights switched on, a blessing was said and parents had an opportunity to speak with one another and share tea and refreshments.
Candles, many brought by the parents themselves, were lit as those in attendance remembered their departed children.
Yesterday’s event followed a Mass last week which was organised by the Little Lifetime Foundation, who helped to set up yesterday’s event along with Glasnevin Cemetery and the Office of Public Works.
The ceremony took place at a plot which is the resting place for more than 40,000 “angels”.
Yesterday’s event also marked the unveiling of a plaque on the square foundation of the Christmas tree bearing an inscription with a line from a poem “Dear Parents” by Christy Kenneally, which reads: “If you would honour me then strive to live in love, for in that love I live.”
Mr Kenneally read the poem, while Peter Hanlon, a bereavement therapist from the HSE, was also there to advise parents on how to deal with grief at this time of the year.
Ron Smith-Murphy of the Little Lifetime Foundation said that despite the sadness attached to the event, parents derived strength and hope from meeting others similarly affected over the years.
“We like to see it as a celebration of their lives at Christmas time,” she said. “Even though the children are not here it does not stop us from being parents to them.”
Those parents were presented with small gifts that they used to decorate the tree in Glasnevin or that they could take home to use to decorate their own tree, one more way of remembering lives that will never be forgotten.
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