Walking down the streets of Dublin can be quite a hectic experience. People rushing to work, home to their families or just for a meeting with their friends is a way to describe Dublin’s most crowded streets. But, in all that rush, people usually don’t pay any attention about things around them. That’s why some of the best public art of Dublin is left unnoticed. This article will try to give them the attention they deserve, so, next time you walk down the streets of Dublin, you will be more likely to experience the beauty of its public art.
1) The Famine Memorial
Photo by richoz, Flickr.com
This piece of art represents commemorative work dedicated to those Irish people who were forced to emigrate during the 19th century Irish famine. The artist to thank for this historically significant piece of art is Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie. It was set up in 1997 and it is fully made of bronze.
The location of this monument is on Custom House Quay in Dublin’s Docklands which makes it even more significant because the first voyages of the Famine period were made from that same spot.
2) Constance Markiewicz and Poppet
Photo by Paul Thomson, Flickr.com
Elizabeth McLaughlin’s statue showing Countess Markiewitz and her dog is situated in Tara Street, Dublin 2. It is a relatively new statue dating back only to 1998. Although this isn’t the only statue in Dublin impersonating the Countess (there is one at Leinster House and Stephen’s Green), this one is of more significance because it shows the Countess in a more informal manner, alongside her beloved dog Poppet.
Constance Georgine Markievicz was an Irish politician, a member of Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail. She was a revolutionary nationalist, suffragette and socialist and was the first woman to be elected to the British House of Commons. Not only that, she was also the first woman ever to hold a cabinet position – she was the Minister for Labour of the Irish Republic form 1919 to 1922.
3) Patrick Kavanagh Statue, Grand Canal Dublin
Photo by William Murphy, Flickr.com
The Irish Poet, Patrick Kavanagh, has his statue commemorating him alongside Grand Canal in Dublin. This monument shows him sitting with his hands crossed as he is thinking. Regarded as one of the foremost poets of the 20th century, his best known works include the novel Tarry Flynn and the poems “On Raglan Road” and “The Great Hunger”. He is known for accounts of Irish life through reference to the everyday and commonplace.
Passing this monument, one can’t help to stop and pause for a bit and think of the passage of time. Frozen in time, Patrick Kavanagh sits there every day, admiring the beauty of the Canal, whether it is a sunny summer day or a rainy and windy winter day.
4) Mr. Screen in Hawkins Street
Photo by Julievna, Flickr.com
If you decide to watch a movie in the Screen cinema near Trinity College Dublin, you will be kindly guided to your seat by Mr Screen, a funny looking, yet symbolic statue situated just in front of the cinema. This statue shows a fully uniformed usher holding a hand torch and pointing to an empty space which, with a little bit of imagination, can become a seat from the early 19th century cinemas. This charming caricature was created in 1988 by sculptor, Vincent Browne and is definitely one of the must-see statues in Dublin.
5) Statue of Queen Maeve
Photo by William Murphy, Flickr.com
The massive statue of Queen Maeve in front of Connaught House may well be the most sexually explicit monument in Dublin. “Queen Maeve was surely one of the most exciting women in history,” said Robert Tincknell, development director at Treasury Holdings. “She didn’t take no for an answer, she staged Ireland’s most famous cattle raid, she was said to have had a voracious sexual appetite. Were she around today she’d be a superstar!”. This statue, made by the artist Patrick O’Reilly shows, little to say, a unique work of art. The queen is portrayed with extremely long legs, holding a spear in one hand, the head of a bull in her other hand with a crow on her shoulder. Legend has it that she is buried under a large cairn at the summit of Knocknaree in Co Sligo. After her own wishes, she is buried standing up and facing her enemies to the north.
These, of course, are not the only hidden and significant statues in Dublin. There are many more and, by putting just a little bit effort in finding them and looking around yourself while walking the streets of Dublin, you might get to know so much more about Dublin itself. Knowing the city statues is like knowing the soul of that city.
Are there any other interesting and hidden statues you would like to add to this list? Leave a comment and it might be included in this list!