In a small Irish town, the 343 reasons to remember 9/11

September 12, 2023

A story by Claire Fahy of the New York Times.

Beyond the multicolored shops, red brick streets packed with performers, and quays filled with sailboats that draw visitors to the town of Kinsale in County Cork, Ireland, is a memorial to a tragedy that occurred an ocean away.

On a hilltop overlooking the fishing village on Ireland’s southwest coast stands a grove of 343 trees — one for each firefighter who died in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.

Kathleen Murphy, who grew up in Kinsale and immigrated to New York, was working as a nurse at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan when the World Trade Center was struck. Murphy, 56 at the time, treated wounded firefighters and spent the days that followed at ground zero, trying to help in any way she could, her nephew John Murphy said.

But frustration lingered. Even with her skills and training, she felt powerless. So many people died before anyone could save them.

So when she returned to her hometown for a visit shortly after the attacks, she enlisted locals and relatives to help create a memorial garden on an acre plot of family land in a section of town called Ringfinnan. By November 2001, a small grove had formed. On St. Patrick’s Day the following year, the Ringfinnan Garden of Remembrance officially opened.

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