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Havel’s Place officially unveiled in Dublin

Havel’s Place, a memorial bench to Vaclav Havel, was ceremonial unveiled in Dublin on 10 December 2013. After Washington DC the Irish capital was proudly chosen from about 15 other cities to be the next location for the installation of this unique work by famed designer Borek Sipek.

It is a true honour to the Czech Republic that the bench, commemorating the life and works of the former Czech President and above all champion for human rights, was installed in the centre of Dublin on International Human Rights Day.  The day also coincided with the day when the world said goodbye to Nelson Mandela, who Vaclav Havel is often compared to.

The bench, comprising a round table with a Linden Tree (The Czech National Tree) growing though its centre and coupled with two movable chairs decorated with typical Havel hearts, can be found in its new home in St. Patrick’s Park adjacent to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  With a new café opening in the immediate vicinity in the spring the bench will provide users with the opportunity to enjoy the wonder of coffee in the magnificent surroundings of the park and freely discuss matters of interest, which is the main mission of the whole work - without free discussion there is no democracy. In addition to the bench there is a commemorative plaque inset into the ground.

The ceremony was attended by about 100 people, including a number of journalists and guest of honour, former Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg. The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisín Quinn, gave the keynote speech and following the unveiling hosted a lunch at the Mansion House for about 60 invited guests. During the course of the lunch Karel Schwarzenberg and Irish organizer of the event, Bill Shipsey (Art for Amnesty) recounted their memories of Vaclav Havel. The day was concluded with an evening drinks reception at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Dublin.

 

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Havel's Place

 

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Event organiser, Bill Shipsey, together with Karel Schwarzenberg

 

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The ceremonial unveiling of Havel's Place

 

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Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisín Quinn and Karel Schwarzenberg during the unveiling of the commemorative plaque

 

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Sitting: Karel Schwarzenberg, Oisín Quinn; standing: Borek Sipek (designer of the bench), Bill Shipsey, Tomas Kafka

 

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Irish Ambassador to the Czech Republic Alison Kelly, Czech Ambassador to Ireland Tomas Kafka and Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn

 

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Speech by Ambassador Tomas Kafka during lunch (The Mansion House, Dublin)