Amidst rolling hills and lush green vistas stands a very special grove of trees in the quiet Irish countryside. Hedges crowd narrow roads and the wind swirls and whistles on the climb up the hill that leads to the Kinsale 9/11 Garden of Remembrance.
Upon entering the garden, visitors are met with a gate, painted fire-engine red, with the message: “We Will Never Forget. This Garden of Remembrance has been dedicated to the Loving Memory of Fr. Mychal Judge and the 343 Brave Firemen, who died so heroically in the line of duty at the Twin Towers Disaster on September 11th 2001 in New York.”
Growing up in Kinsale and spending the last 40 years of her life in New York City working as a senior staff nurse at Lenox Hill Hospital, Kathleen Cait Murphy began a friendship with chaplain Father Mychal Judge and possessed a sincere admiration for the work of the FDNY.
Shocked by the loss of so many firefighters on 9/11, Murphy decided to create a memorial on her plot of land in the Irish village of Kinsale where she planned to retire.
Located in the hamlet of Ringfinnan, Kinsale is best known as a historic port and fishing town in County Cork, Ireland with exceptional art galleries and restaurants.
Murphy’s decision to honor these fallen firefighters came to fruition in Mar. 2002. The 343 trees in the garden are all dedicated to a firefighter who lost their life on 9/11. Each tree is marked with a small white sign emblazoned with the firefighter’s name and a small American flag. To the right of the expansive grove stands a stone pillar with an iron replica of the FDNY badge with the number 343 in the center.
Following a courageous battle with cancer, Kathleen Cait Murphy passed away on Mar. 29, 2011 with a plaque added to the memorial in her honor. It is through this touching memorial that her memory and those of the 343 firefighters lost on 9/11 will endure the test of time.
By Christine Murphy, 9/11 Memorial Project Coordinator