The War and Peace garden will symbolize some of the devastation visited upon the Syrian people, their identity, history and their culture over the past five years. GOAL's programmes reach more than 1m Syrians inside the country as well as many refugees in Turkey, and 500 GOAL staff are themselves Syrian.
Inspired by the traditional courtyard gardens of Damascus - Syria’s historic, embattled capital - the 10m x 10m space will be divided into two halves; one representing Syria in peacetime; the other representing Syria today, a land in a time of war.
The 'peace' half of the garden will emphasise the elements of these courtyard gardens that make them so popular, including planting typical to the region, patterned paving and a central water-feature. In stark contrast, the 'war' half of the garden will be dominated by dead and distressed plants, broken stonework, and other signs of damage and neglect.
The garden has been designed by award-winning Irish landscape designer, Brian Burke, winner of last year's RTE 'SuperGarden' show.
Burke was already building a reflective space for Syrians beside the refugee centre at Monasterevin, County Kildare. This garden will be completed later in the summer using elements of the Bloom garden - which must immediately be deconstructed once the festival finishes – and will then serve as a permanent emotional and physical connection to home for Ireland’s Syrian refugees.
GOAL’s involvement in Bloom will form part of its ongoing 'Now You Know' campaign to raise awareness of the conflict in Syria. The garden at the refugee centre will continue the charity and goodwill shown by Irish people towards innocent Syrians caught up in the world’s worst humanitarian situation.
Bord Bia's Bloom attracts more than 100,000 visitors to the Phoenix Park each year for five days of gardening tips, artisan food, cookery demonstrations, family fun and other entertainment. It will run from 2-6 June at Phoenix Park in Dublin.