Meg really wanted to return to Ireland this year and was left with the task of planning the trip. I tried to limit my involvement to determining the flights, getting us to/from the airport (JFK is fun at rush hour!), and interjecting a few things I wanted to see (Guinness Storehouse, etc.).
The first thing on this list was a site I visited previously – the Glencree German War Cemetery in the Wicklow Mountains. Spending more time onsite was one benefit of returning again, but what I really wanted to do again was my respects to those interred here.
While the hallowed grounds appeared different than they did in 2010 (or so I thought, revisiting those pictures proved my memory wrong), the peace and tranquility remained. Mist was in the air while a slight breeze rustled the leaves. Sounds of the water flowing through and down a waterfall lent itself to an overly calming effect.
This is the final resting place of 134 German soldiers; soldiers that had either crashed into Ireland (as a result of flying over England), or those that had washed up as a result of a maritime incident. It is not limited to just those loses in World War 2, the remains of six soldiers from World War 1 are also interred here.
There is one well known occupant: Dr. Hermann Görtz. After conviction and a 4-year imprisonment in Britain, he later parachuted into Ireland. He was again captured and served time in Ireland and was released from custody in 1946. Dr. Görtz committed suicide in 1947 out of fear or being handed over to the Soviets after being informed he was being deported to Germany.
While making it a point to visit Glencree may seem somewhat macabre, it is one of the few ways to recognize our past.
For more info, visit the Glencree Centre for Peace.