The Circle of Life Commemorative Garden is a national organ donor commemorative garden located in the Quincentennial Park in Salthill in Galway. It was developed by the Strange Boat Donor Foundation in partnership with Galway City Council and opened in May 2014. The garden is a place of beauty, inspiration and gratitude for organ donors and their families, as well as a place of solace and healing for those who have lost loved ones or are waiting for a transplant.

The garden’s design reflects the spirit of giving, the enduring legacy of organ donors, and the interconnectedness of life. The garden’s centrepiece is a circle of five standing stones, each representing a different stage of life’s journey and bearing a carving and an inscription. The stones are surrounded by a ring of wildflowers, symbolising the cycle of nature and the seasons. The centre stone, called the Stone of Unification, is dedicated to organ donors and was sourced from Clonmacnoise, an ancient monastic site that was once the spiritual centre of Ireland.

The garden also features a stone sculpted candle, dedicated to the medical staff and personnel who make organ donation and transplantation possible. The candle symbolises the light of humanity shone through donation. The garden has a heritage stone wall that includes stones associated with iconic heritage sites from each of the 32 counties of Ireland, representing donors from all over the country. The garden also has a global heritage stone trail that showcases stones from each of the five continents, reflecting the universality and inclusiveness of organ donation. The stones were chosen from sites that are related to the advancement of humanity, such as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, Robben Island and Newgrange.

The garden is open to the public and welcomes visitors from all walks of life. It is a wonderful space to relax and reflect during a visit to Galway. It also offers an ideal backdrop for wedding photographs and other special occasions. The garden hosts various events throughout the year, such as commemorative ceremonies, concerts, poetry readings and art exhibitions. The garden also has a time capsule that was buried in 1984 by the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), a computer manufacturing company that funded the original park. The time capsule contains items related to Galway’s history and culture and will not be opened until 2484.

The Circle of Life Commemorative Garden is a unique and meaningful tribute to organ donors and their families, who have given the gift of life to others. It is also a place of hope and encouragement for those who are waiting for or have received a transplant. The garden celebrates the generosity, courage and compassion of organ donation and invites visitors to appreciate the preciousness and interconnectedness of life.


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Circle of Life Commemorative Garden



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