Statues in Dublin

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Statues in Dublin are a significant feature of the cityscape of Dublin. The city's statues and other monuments have a long history of controversy about their subjects and designs, and a number of formerly prominent monuments have been removed or destroyed.

Past statues[edit]

Dublin was once famed for its high quality equestrian statues, including the Lord Gough monument in the Phoenix Park, the William of Orange statue by Gibbons in College Green and the George II statue in St Stephen's Green.

The statue Queen Victoria by Irish sculptor John Hughes, was unveiled outside Leinster House, now the seat of the Oireachtas, by Edward VII in 1904. Noel Lemass, Jnr remarked of the statue in Dáil Éireann; "I think we all agree it is one of the most ugly statues of that royal lady...".[1] It was removed in 1947 and transferred to storage at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. In the late 1980s, it was given to the city of Sydney, Australia, where it now stands outside the Queen Victoria Building in the city centre.[2][3] A statue of Lord Gough, sculpted by Dubliner John Henry Foley, was moved to Chillingham Castle.

Dublin's most prominent monument, Nelson's Pillar, which stood near the General Post Office (GPO) in the centre of O'Connell Street, was blown up by a group of former Irish Republican Army (IRA) members in 1966.

Nelson was pre-dated by a 1759 statue of Lord Blakeney, the unsuccessful defender of the Siege of Fort St Philip on Minorca in 1756. This was said to be the first statue of an Irishman in Dublin, and was sculpted by John Nost.

Current statues[edit]

On the site of Nelson's Pillar, a new monument was erected in January 2003. Officially named the Monument of Light but more commonly known as the Spire of Dublin. A 1980s monument to the personified river Liffey, Anna Livia was moved from O'Connell Street to make way for the Spire. It was a woman sitting on a slope with bubbling water running down past her represented the river. It was removed in 2001 and re-located to Croppies Memorial Park in 2011.

Other monuments on O'Connell Street include statues honouring Charles Stewart Parnell by Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the north end of the street; at the southern end stands a statue of Daniel O'Connell by John Henry Foley. Other statues on the street include one of trade union leader James Larkin.

Nearby, outside St Mary's Pro-Cathedral stands a statue honouring the Dublin Martyrs, Mayor Francis Taylor and his grandmother-in-law Mayoress Margaret Ball.

At the junction North Earl Street and O'Connell Street is a statue of the novelist James Joyce walking with a cane in his hand.

Just by the Ha'penny Bridge is a statue of two women sitting on a bench engaged in conversation with their shopping bags at their feet.[4]

A short distance away from O'Connell Street near the Liffey Quays was the site of the Millennium Clock, constructed in the mid-1990s to count down to the year 2000. The clock, with a green-illuminated digital face, was placed underneath the surface of the river by the bank so that the time shone up through the water. A postcard booth was placed on the bridge above the clock that printed postcards for 20p, each bearing the exact amount of time left at that moment until the dawn of the new millennium. However, in the months that followed, it had repeated problems with letting in water and failing to display the time correctly. It was removed after a brief period, but not before it had been nicknamed "The Time in the Slime".

On College Street, outside Trinity College, on a traffic island, there is a statue to the nineteenth-century lyricist Thomas Moore.

Outside the Dublin Tourist Office on Suffolk Street, there is a statue representing Molly Malone, a fictitious fishmonger featured in Dublin's anthem, Molly Malone, who is shown wheeling a cart. The statue was erected to celebrate Dublin's millennium in 1988.[5]

On the north-east corner of St Stephen's Green, there is a semicircle of rough stone pillars commemorating the Great Irish Famine and surrounding a statue of Wolfe Tone. In Merrion Square, inside the north west corner gateway, there is a statue of Oscar Wilde composed of different coloured stone, sitting on a large granite boulder.

James Connolly is the only leader of the 1916 Easter Rising to have a statue in Dublin. It is situated facing Liberty Hall, the headquarters of Ireland's largest trade union, SIPTU. Constance Markievicz has a statue on Tara Street and a bust in St Stephen's Green. There is also a bust of Michael Collins in Merrion Square. One of the few elected politicians commemorated with a statue is Henry Grattan, a leading politician in the Irish House of Commons in the late 18th century. There is a nearby statue of patriot Thomas Davis.

List of Dublin statues (people)[edit]

List of prominent Dublin monuments and sculptures[edit]

"Seamen's Memorial"
"Liberty scaling the heights"
  • Anna Livia – Croppy Acre Memorial Park, Dublin. Formerly in O'Connell Street.
  • Joker's Chair – Memorial to Dermot Morgan – Merrion Square Park
  • Wellington Monument – Phoenix Park
  • Phoenix Monument – Phoenix Park
  • Papal Cross – Phoenix Park
  • Two Women – Lower Liffey Street
  • An Cailín Bán – Sandymount Strand
  • Spire of Dublin – O'Connell Street
  • Queen Victoria Fountain – Dún Laoghaire
  • O'Connell Tower – Prospect Cemetery, Glasnevin
  • Battle of the Custom House – Memorial Road
  • Liberty Scaling the Heights – Grand Canal Street
  • Famine Monument – Custom House Quay
  • Children of Lir – Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square
  • Chariot of Life – Abbey Street
  • Éire sculpture – Merrion Square Park[6]
  • Padraig Sheahan Memorial – Hawkins Street
  • Dublin Yeomanry Memorial – St. Andrew Street
  • Fusiliers' Arch – Memorial to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers[7] – St Stephen's Green
  • Lady Laura Grattan Font – St Stephen's Green North
  • Three Fates – St Stephen's Green, inside the Leeson Street gate
  • Merchant Seamen Memorial – Sir John Rogerson's Quay
  • Dublin and Monaghan bombings Memorial – Talbot Street
  • Dancing Couple – Stardust Memorial Park, Coolock
  • The NCIris – Mayor Square, IFSC
  • Misneach – Statue of a young girl on horseback – Main Street, Ballymun[8]

Other notable Dublin statues[edit]

Mr. Screen
  • Mr. Screen, a cinema usher – Screen Cinema, Hawkins Street.[9]
  • Strong Striking Bear – IFSC
  • A Cow – Jervis Street
  • Two Children – Portland Row
  • A Hand – Marlborough Street
  • Statue of a fiddler and three children dancing – Stillorgan Shopping Centre[10]
  • Father Pat Noise memorial – O'Connell Bridge. A hoax commemorative plaque placed in the gap left from the control box of the millennium clock in 1999.[11]
  • People's Island – traffic island at junction of D'Olier Street and Westmoreland Street. Various human and other footprints set into the concrete paving slabs. [12]
  • American Indian mounted on horseback – Stephen Street

List of past Dublin statues and monuments[edit]

King William of Orange statue in College Green
Queen Victoria statue in front of the National Library of Ireland (circa 1908)
  • King George II – St Stephen's Green (blown up 1937)[13]
  • William of Orange – College Green (blown up 1946)
  • Queen Victoria – Kildare Street, removed in 1947, put on display in Sydney, Australia in 1987.
  • Bowl of Light – O'Connell Bridge.[14] Thrown into the Liffey in 1953.[15]
  • Gough Monument – Phoenix Park (Badly damaged by a bomb in 1957).[16][8]
  • Nelson's Pillar – O'Connell Street (blown up 1966)
  • Millennium Clock – River Liffey (removed 1999)


  1. ^ Dáil Éireann - Volume 273 - 28 May 1974, Paragraph 132.
  2. ^ Moore, Peter (2012). "Statue of Queen Victoria, Druitt Street". Dictionary of Sydney. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Izzard, Tanya. Public Art Review: "The Auld Bitch"
  4. ^ Craig Parshall. Retrieved 7 December 2006.
  5. ^ blog
  6. ^ Photo
  7. ^ Irish War Memorials
  8. ^ a b "Ballymun gets a new local hero". The Irish Times. 10 September 2010. 
  9. ^ Mr. Screen in Google Street View. Retrieved: 10 January 2012.
  10. ^ Photo
  11. ^ "Hoax Plaque on Bridge Will Now be Left In Place". The Irish Times. 24 May 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2007. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Photo
  14. ^ O'Dwyer, Frederick. Lost Dublin. (HarperCollins 1982).
  15. ^ Photo: Flowerbed
  16. ^ Bought by a member of the Guinness family from the Office of Public Works. It was loaned to Humphrey Wakefield of Chillingham Castle.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°20′46″N 6°15′25″W / 53.34611°N 6.25702°W / 53.34611; -6.25702