St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin is really a maze of statues, monuments and memorials that requires a long time wandering around (or a detailed perusal of the map, perhaps) to discover them all. A few months ago I found there was a recent addition of a bust of Rabindranath Tagore, India’s only Nobel Laureate in Literature (there because W.B. Yeats was a big fan, essentially). Today I noticed this, which in fact dates from 1996, unveiled that year by Ireland’s first female president, Mary Robinson. The inscription says:
"To the women who worked in the Magdalen laundry institutes
and to the children born to some members of those communities
reflect here upon their lives”
That final line I find especially powerful, as it’s not usual that a memorial (save for perhaps the most nationalistic and mythological) feels the need to direct its viewer into the act of remembrance. I have to admit I didn’t stay any longer at the seat after I’d taken the picture, but like many I have been doing some reflection on that part of our history of late. In any case, a group of American tourists came down from the W.B. Yeats grotto/crazy paving and asked me to take their picture towards the middle of the green (naturally, they were very polite and said thank you - I was almost going to play to the welcoming stereotype and wish them a happy visit too, but hey, some of us are actually introverts).