Dublin City’s Famous Characters.
Dublin City is filled with history, humor, heritage and folklore and, most of all
When was the last time you stopped to look at a statue?
Feast your eyes here on some of Dublin City’s statues and sculptures, both old and new or take a visit and stroll through the capital city discovering the effigies of Dublin City’s famous characters dotted around the city streets and parks –
Oscar Wilde Statue, Dublin City.
Oscar Wilde, author, playwright and poet was born in 1854 at no. 1 Merrion Square. Danny Osborne’s colourful statue of Oscar Wilde at the corner of Merrion Square Park in Georgian Dublin, was made using semi-precious stones, reflecting the writer’s love of beautiful objects; his flamboyant green smoking jacket is made of nephrite jade, and its pink collar and cuffs are carved from thulite. The stone pillars by the statue are covered in quotations from his writings.
This statue is one of the 10 statues in Dublin given a new lease of life – and a voice – thanks to a project called Talking Statues by Failte Ireland with support from Sing London and Dublin City Council. To hear the statue speak, just bring your phone and pay them a visit – Pass a Talking Statue, swipe your smartphone on a nearby plaque and presto, you get a call back from Oscar Wilde (written by John Banville and voiced by Andrew Scott).
George Salmon Statue, Trinity College, Dublin City.
The life-size statue in the grounds of Trinity College of the Mathematician, theologian and avid chess player, George Salmon, is carved from Galway marble, and was created in 1911 by Dublin-born artist John Hughes, one of the most celebrated sculptors of his day. The statue has been displayed in several locations around Trinity College, and now stands near the library, allowing Salmon to look out onto generations of students coming and going across College Green. Don’t forget to bring your phone along to hear this imposing statue talk on your next visit (written & animated by: Joe Duffy).
Phil Lynott Statue, Harry Street, Dublin City.
Phil Lynott is best known as the front man for the very successful Rock band Thin Lizzy. Phil Lynott’s short life has been immortalized by this fabulous life-sized statue placed outside the famous Bruxelles Rock Pub on Harry Street, close to the Westbury Hotel Dublin and just off Grafton Street. His statue has been given the nickname ‘The ace with the bass’. Phil Lynott’s statue has somehow been saved from the hilarious Dubliner pastime of giving lewd and/or politically incorrect nicknames to the city’s monuments.
Molly Malone Statue, Suffolk Street, Dublin City.
The Molly Malone Statue takes pride of place on Suffolk Street in Dublin City and is possibly the most photographed statue in the capital. Dublin born artist and statue sculptor Jeanne Rynhart completed her works on the Molly Malone Statue in 1988. Her statue is based on the popular folk song, about a street trader called Molly Malone who sold fish, cockles and muscles from her cart and died of a fever at a young age – This popular folk song has somehow become Dublin City’s unofficial anthem.
Wolfe Tone Statue, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin City.
The solitary bronze statue commemorating the tragic founding father of Irish republicanism, Wolfe Tone, stands in the corner of St Stephens Green and has weathered green over the decades. In 1964, sculptor Edward Delaney and architect Noel Keating began work on the Wolfe Tone monument, with the statue and surrounding framework of granite monoliths unveiled three years later. After being criticized for making the figure of Tone too big, Edward Delaney retorted that ‘Tone figured life-size in a park setting would look like a leprechaun.’
This is another talking statue of Dublin, so to hear this interesting character speak on your next visit just swipe your smartphone on the nearby plaque and you will get a call back from Wolfe Tone (written by Patrick McCabe and animated by: Brendan Gleeson).
Meeting Place Statue, Liffey Street Lower, Dublin City
Jackie McKenna’s 1988 bronze sculpture Meeting Place was designed to reflect everyday city life. This bronze statue shows two women, seated on a granite bench, chatting, with their shopping bags on the ground.
Like many Dublin statues, these women have a local nickname – ‘the Hags with the Bags’ – but “Talking Statues” have brought them to life by Rachel Kilfeather and Brenda Fricker, and these characters of the capital city now have a chance to talk back!
The O’Connell Monument, O’Connell Street, Dublin City.
The Daniel O’Connell statue, on the street which bears his name, was commissioned in 1880 to commemorate Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) – Born in Kerry, he was known as “the Liberator” for successfully campaigning for the right of Irish Catholics to become members of Parliament and he strongly believed in employing peaceful tactics to achieve change. He also fought for the repeal of the Act of Union.
The Daniel O’Connell statue is surrounded by a frieze of figures depicting elements of Irish society. The four beautiful winged women represent Patriotism, Courage, Eloquence and Fidelity – and if you visit this statue along with your phone, Fidelity with her Irish wolfhound has her own story to tell. (written by: Paula Meehan and animated by: Ruth Negga).
Make sure to look carefully at the arms of this statue to see bullet holes which were shot during the 1916 Rising.
A Guide to the Statues of Dublin City.
Do you know where the Ten Virgins are located on O’Connell Street? Do you know what piece of music is featured on the statue of Daniel O’Connell? Do you know which Dublin statue has a hat and a cat as symbols of freedom?
Neal Doherty’s fantastic book “The Complete Guide to the Statues and Sculptures of Dublin City“ provides answers to these questions and uncovers the stories behind the statues, their subjects, their sculptors and their symbolism.
Neal, a Dubliner and Fáilte Ireland qualified tourist guide, has been introducing tourists to the history and culture of Dublin for many years.
More than two hundred statues and sculptures are featured within the Grand Canal area and Royal Canal area of Dublin City. These fabulous works of art tell the story of Dublin City, from the arrival of the Vikings and the oppression of the Penal Laws, through the rich Georgian era and the disaster of the Great Famine, to the fight for Irish freedom in 1916 and on to the modernity of the twenty-first century. Each artist tells a story through their work that can be read, understood and appreciated, paying homage to not just the leaders, but the stories, the legends, the writers, the myths, the poets, the musicians, the singers and the scientists who have shaped Dublin and Ireland over the centuries.
Until your next visit to Dublin, you can view this video featuring Neal Doherty and sample a handful of the Dublin statues which feature in his wonderful guide book to the statues and sculptures of Dublin.
What Or Who Would You Like To See Feature As A Dublin Statue?
So what person, place or thing from Ireland would you like to see immortalized forever that has yet to be imagined? There are probably too many to name……… Or maybe you could plan a visit and see which Irish character you would choose.
The Emerald Isle has breathtaking scenery, wonderful heritage, culture, and a sense of immense pride that makes the entire island of Ireland a special place to visit any time of the year. Explore Dublin City and see the many statues of celebrated revolutionary leaders, literary figures, poets, singers and musicians of Ireland on a leisurely walking tour or a panoramic chauffeur drive tour through the city centre.
Contact Specialized Travel Services to plan your Irish vacation of a lifetime and to discover the sights, the sounds and the scenic landscapes that have influenced the Irish Greats. You can also send an email to email@example.com or keep in touch with us on facebook.
Note: Featured image at the top of the blog is the Dublin City Aerial View © Ordnance Survey Ireland www.osi.ie
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