In the summer of 2010 we drove the 4,000km across Europe to Syria. This was the last summer one could safely explore Syria’s extraordinary historic remains from the Crusader castle of Krac des Chevaliers to the desert ruins of Palmyra or the citadel at Aleppo.
I often look back at our pictures, of street scenes in Aleppo for instance, and wonder if any of the bystanders survived the devastation and destruction. Did they become one of the refugees desperately trying to seek safety in Europe?
The medieval covered market/souq in 2010
The covered market today :
When travelling it really is ‘Carpe diem’; one never knows what lies ahead, be it civil unrest or natural disasters.
An Irish link with Syria – A Damascus Courtyard at Bloom.
Back in Dublin, visiting this year’s “Bloom”, Ireland’s annual garden festival, it was great to see a Show Garden based on a contemplative enclosed Syrian courtyard garden such as one might have found in old Damascus.
A bubbling central fountain created a pleasing sound, always a great addition to any city courtyard. The tiles and patterned paving are typical. These courtyard gardens are havens of tranquillity and calm, how much more needed there today.
The strewn toys represented the haste at which this imagined Syrian home had to be abandoned.
As the sun set, scented plants, such as Trachelospermum jasminoides, released their perfume into the courtyard.
The really good news is that after the Bloom garden festival was over and the short-lived Show Gardens were dismantled, this particular garden was destined to be recreated at the Reception Centre for Syrian refugees at Monasterevin in Co Kildare.
A reflective space for Syrians and a physical connection to their homeland.
Read more about the garden and GOAL’s work HERE