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Mission
Our mission is to help deepen reconciliation within and between communities on the island of Ireland and in selected contexts internationally. Glencree focuses on dealing with the legacies of violence, building peaceful and shared futures and transforming violent conflict. Glencree achieves its mission by helping the transformation and building of relationships through facilitated inclusive dialogue and capacity building of stakeholders.
Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. A local Boy Scouts troop leads the procession into the church. Former foster children that were brought to Ireland from Germany after World War II during Operation Shamrock, reunited with their foster families, friends and family in the Glencree Centre of Peace & Reconciliation, where they stayed for their first weeks in Ireland.

Click on the image for a gallery. Once the large image has opened, please use your left and right arrow keys to move forward and back.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The Waterford Scout Pipe Band performs at the Shamrock Gathering.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The Shamrock Gathering starts with an ecumenical church service, jointly held by the local Catholic parish and the German Lutheran Church in Ireland.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The German Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Eckard Lübkemeier, and his wife are pictured.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The German Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Eckard Lübkemeier (R), talks to two former German foster children Heinz Kampers (L) and Gisela Berns (M).
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. All Ireland Under 14 Solo Piping Champion Eimear Costello leads the former German foster children into the marquee.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The German Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Eckard Lübkemeier, addresses the opening ceremony of the gathering.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The Interim CEO of the Glencree Centre of Peace & Reconciliation, William Devas, addresses the opening ceremony of the gathering.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. A group picture of some of the former German foster children at the Glencree centre of peace & Reconciliation.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. Some visitors view the exhibition about Operation Shamrock.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. Two members of the Irish foster families look through old pictures.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. Two visitors share some memories by reading through old letters.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The German Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Eckard Lübkemeier (L), talks to Brian Hayes, T.D. (R) Minister for Public Sector Reform and OPW (Office of Public Works).
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. Brian Hayes, T.D. Minister for Public Sector Reform and OPW (Office of Public Works) is pictured.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The Omagh and Waterford Peace Choir performs at the Shamrock Gathering.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The Omagh and Waterford Peace Choir performs at the Shamrock Gathering.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. Brian Hayes, T.D. (L), Minister for Public Sector Reform and OPW (Office of Public Works) and the The German Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Eckard Lübkemeier (R) unveil a commemorative sculpture for Operation Shamrock.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The Interim CEO of the Glencree centre of peace & Reconciliation, William Devas (L), Brian Hayes, T.D. (M), Minister for Public Sector Reform and OPW (Office of Public Works) and the The German Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Eckard Lübkemeier (R) are pictured with the commemorative sculpture for Operation Shamrock.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The Chairman of the Irish Red Cross, David J. O’Callaghan, addresses the opening ceremony of the gathering.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The former German foster children (left to right) Elke Carey, Catharina Carroll, Helene Brierty and Elizabeth O'Gorman sit on stage, talking about some of their experiences as children in Ireland.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. Brian Hayes, T.D. Minister for Public Sector Reform and OPW (Office of Public Works), addresses the opening ceremony of the gathering.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. The German Theodore Edward Kavanagh (R) and his brother Tony (L) tell their life story, how they were separated as Theodore was send to Ireland during Operation Shamrock and how they met again 60 years later.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013. A group picture of some of the former German foster children at the Glencree centre of peace & Reconciliation.
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years
Co. Wicklow, Ireland. 5th October 2013.Shamrock Gathering - Refugee Children Reunited After More Than 60 Years

Twenty-one refugee children brought to Ireland in 1946 from Germany, France and Austria, as part of a Red Cross initiative known as “Operation Shamrock” were reunited on Saturday at Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation as part of the Gathering 2013. 

The former refugees were joined by more than 400 guests from Germany, Ireland, Wales and the USA, including the foster families who gave homes to the children over 60 years ago, their own children and grand-children.

Speaking at the event, Agnes Thevis, one of the 21 children, told of the difficulties faced in Germany where, “the farmers were too afraid to plant crops because of the mines that were buried in the fields, so there was no food for the families”.  Agnes came to Ireland with her brother, they were fostered together by a family in Dundalk, “we were raised liked we were their own, I have very happy memories of Ireland.”

Many tears were shed as the ‘children’ shared their memories. Theodore Edward Kavanagh was separated from his brother Tony and brought to Ireland from an orphanage in Germany, “I thought he would arrive after me but he never came.  I never knew what happened to him until sixty years later when we finally found him in Germany”. Despite not being able to speak one another’s language, the brothers attended Saturday’s Gathering event together, sitting side by side with huge smiles on their faces.

As you can see from the adjoining photos the day was filled with sunshine, laughter, tears and emotion.  It was made all the more special by the wonderful music provided by Waterford Scout Pipe Band throughout the day and the spectacle of scouts and leaders from Scouting Ireland added to sense of occasion.  To the many Volunteers, (including the scouts) who worked tirelessly throughout the day to ensure that everything went smoothly and that the Operation Shamrock children and their families were the ‘stars of the show’ – a heartfelt thanks from all at Glencree, the German Embassy and the Irish Red Cross.

Memories were shared and new memories were created on what was truly a wonderful day.

The Operation Shamrock Gathering was co-hosted by Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dublin and the Irish Red Cross.

Clippings & Videos

Listen to the Irish Radio International programme which includes interviews with Operation Shamrock ‘children’ Elizabeth O’Gorman, Helmut Erb and Gertrud Rossbach and Historian, Frank Tracy.

World War II refugees reunited in Ireland after more than 60 years - thejournal.ie

Operation Shamrock - ZDF, German TV station (video)

UNHCR - "Coming out of war torn Germany it was just beautiful" - A refugee's journey to Irland in 1946
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Creative Responses to Conflict through Mediation and Restorative Practices
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Website supported by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation
Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation is a company limited by guarantee in the Republic of Ireland; Company Number: 50088 and registered charity number: CHY5943; and a charity registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales under charity number 1137390 and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, company number 7152448. The registered address in Ireland is: Glencree, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Company Directors:  Denise Collins, Debbie Donnelly, John Flood, Bronagh Hinds, Peter Keenan (Chairman), Turlough O'Donnell, Andy Pollak, Barbara Walshe.