Children remembered at Grotto

Relatives of children and young people from the area who passed away pray in silence at the Brandywell Grotto during a candlelight tree planting ceremony in their memory. DER5116GS020
Relatives of children and young people from the area who passed away pray in silence at the Brandywell Grotto during a candlelight tree planting ceremony in their memory. DER5116GS020

A large group of people gathered at Our Lady’s Grotto in the Brandywell this week to commemorate children who have passed away .

The event was held on Tuesday night and a tree was planted at the site in memory of all the children and young people from the area who have died.

Relatives of children and young people from the area who passed away pray in silence at the Brandywell Grotto during a candlelight tree planting ceremony in their memory. DER5116GS019

Relatives of children and young people from the area who passed away pray in silence at the Brandywell Grotto during a candlelight tree planting ceremony in their memory. DER5116GS019

Relatives of those young people joined others who had turned out in prayers led by Deacon Malachy Gallagher from St Eugene’s Cathedral.

Some of those gathered also placed candles at the site , while a saplings donated by the Woodland Trust for the occasion was also planted within the grounds.

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Brandywell area Patricia Logue had been involved in organising the event and was among those in attendance on Tuesday event.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony on Tuesday, she said: “This is a very poignant time of the year for anyone who has lost a loved one, particularly a child.

Three year-old Cara McGavigan and her mum place candles at the Brandywell Grotto during a recent tree planting ceremony in memory of children and young people from the area who passed away. DER5116GS018

Three year-old Cara McGavigan and her mum place candles at the Brandywell Grotto during a recent tree planting ceremony in memory of children and young people from the area who passed away. DER5116GS018

“I approached the local Grotto committee with the proposal to plant a tree at the Grotto in dedication to all the children and young people from the area who have sadly passed away.

“I was very pleased that they supported the idea.

“I in turn contacted the Woodland Trust with the idea and they very kindly agreed to donate a tree for this ceremony.”

The ceremony was followed by a carol service at the Gasyard Centre on Tuesday evening.

Deacon Malachy Gallagher, Annie McKay and Colr Patricia Logue at the Brandywell Grotto during a recent candlelight tree planting ceremony in memory of children and young people from the area who passed away. DER5116GS016

Deacon Malachy Gallagher, Annie McKay and Colr Patricia Logue at the Brandywell Grotto during a recent candlelight tree planting ceremony in memory of children and young people from the area who passed away. DER5116GS016

The Brandywell grotto was built around 1945, just after the Second World War in thanksgiving that Derry suffered little during the war

Trees were brought from Banagher Dam in the Dungiven area to be planted at the site.

The grotto, which was refurbished several years ago, has become over the decades a place of pilgrimage and a place of sanctuary and reflection for local people.

Open air religious services are also sometimes celebrated there.

Relatives of children and young people from the area who passed away gathered at the Brandywell Grotto for a candlelight tree planting ceremony in their memory. DER5116GS022

Relatives of children and young people from the area who passed away gathered at the Brandywell Grotto for a candlelight tree planting ceremony in their memory. DER5116GS022

Deacon Malachy Gallagher prays with relatives at the Brandywell Grotto during a recent candlelight tree planting ceremony in memory of children and young people from the area who passed away. DER5116GS021

Deacon Malachy Gallagher prays with relatives at the Brandywell Grotto during a recent candlelight tree planting ceremony in memory of children and young people from the area who passed away. DER5116GS021

Kitty Rowe planting a Crab Apple tree, donated by the Woodland Trust, at the Brandywell Grotto during a recent candlelight ceremony in memory of children and young people from the area who passed away. DER5116GS017

Kitty Rowe planting a Crab Apple tree, donated by the Woodland Trust, at the Brandywell Grotto during a recent candlelight ceremony in memory of children and young people from the area who passed away. DER5116GS017