Statues in Dublin, unlike many cities do not commemorate generals on horseback, but Dubliner’s who are writers and poets. Visiting there statues, such as Oscar Wilde, James Joyce Patrick Kavanagh or Brendan Behan is a great way to take in the atmosphere of the city. View our images so you can decide your new adventure.
The bench on which Patrick Kavanagh’s statue rests for a moment is located on the banks of the Grand Canal, not too far from Raglan Road, one of his best loved poems. The inspiration for this beautiful statue came from his poem “Lines written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin”:
O commemorate me where there is water
canal water preferably, so stilly
greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
commemorate me thus beautifully.
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This is Dublin’s most colourful statue. Wilde jauntily reclines on a rock in Merrion Square Park, near where he lived out his childhood years at No. 1 Merrion Sq. His wry smile welcomes you to the park and makes you feel as though he is still watching the world go by, preparing a witty comment or perhaps dreaming up a new play or novel.
This statue depicts an iconic Dublin figure. The bronze statue, usually located on Grafton Street but now moved to Suffolk Street while road works are carried out, pushes her cart of ‘cockles and mussels’ as famously outlined in the street ballad containing her name. There is no significant evidence to suggest that this particular fishmonger was ever a real person, the ballad sings of folklore only. However she is a much loved Dublin landmark and the catchy song has been adopted as Dublin’s unofficial anthem.
The life sized statue of James Joyce stands on North Earl Street and commemorates one of the literary greats of the 20th Century. Famed for his book ‘Ulysses’ he captures Dublin hour by hour on the June 16th. This day has become a festival dedicated to Joyce, known as Bloomsday, people dress up and follow the footsteps of Leopald Bloom as he journeys through this city.
Capturing the moment where two women sit together for a chat and a break from shopping, this statue is said to be pure Dublin. The statue lies just over the Ha’penny Bridge heading towards the Northside. The statue is affectionately dubbed ‘The Hags with the Bags’.
‘Big Jim’ Larkin was a larger than life figure who is commemorated on O’ Connell Street, he gained famed as a trade union organiser when he led the Dublin Lockout 1913. He also coined the phrase ‘a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay’ in relation to the unskilled workers. The inscription on the monument is written in French, Irish and English. In English it reads; The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise. A quotation from Jim Larkin by Patrick Kavanagh and a quotation from Drums under the Windows by Seán Ó Casey also appear on the base.
Described as Ireland’s most famous socialist, the statue of James Connolly resides at Beresford Place, near Liberty Hall. Behind Connolly the ‘Starry Plough’ the traditional symbol of socialism is depicted. Connolly was one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising and was brought to Kilmainham Gaol to be executed alongside the other leaders. His death and the death of the other leaders inspired the Irish people to take up the cause for Independence.
This statue stands testament to one of rock’s best known front men, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. Iconic for famous hits such as ‘The Boys are Back in Town’, ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ and ‘Whiskey in the Jar’, the band became international stars. However Lynott’s premature death put a hold to their dreams. He is immortalised on Harry Street which is just off Grafton Street. His statue has become a place of pilgrimage for all aspiring rock musicians.
Inside the GPO (General Post Office on O’ Connell) stands a memorial to the participants of the 1916 Easter Rising in the form of Cúchulainn. Legend has it that Cúchulainn tied himself to a pillar in order to face him enemies standing despite being mortally wounded. His enemies where so afraid to approach the fearsome man that they could only do so when a raven had landed on his head and they felt sure he was dead. The text of the proclamation of the Irish Republic and the names of the signatories are inscribed on the base of the statue.
Daniel O' Connell
The monument to Daniel O’ Connell has stood proudly at the top of O’ Connell St., once known as Sackville St., since 1882. It is an imposing sight which stands testament to legacy which he left to the Irish people, namely the Catholic Emancipation. O’ Connell was a constitutional nationalist and did not believe violence was necessary to change British rule. A great source of irony stems from the fact that during the 1916 Easter Rising, the monument sustained several bullet holes, most of which can be seen to this day.
The Famine Memorial
This memorial takes the shape of several haggard figures. One can imagine them stumbling to the famine ship hoping for a safe passage and better life in another country. The sculpture, by Ronan Gillespie, is located on Custom House Quay, where the first famine ship carrying emigrants to New York sailed from. It was commissioned by Norma Smurfit and gifted to the City of Dublin in 1997.
Garden of Remembrance
The Garden of Remembrance contains a statue by the renowned Irish sculptor Oisin Kelly. It was erected in 1971 in the garden whose purpose is as a memorial to the struggle for Irish Freedom. The sculpture depicts the moment where the Children of Lir are turned from swans to humans once more after spending 900 years cursed to be swans. It is intended to serve as a symbolic representation of the re-birth of the Irish Nation after hundreds of years of British oppression.
Goldsmith and Burke stand either side of Front Arch entrance to Trinity College as former graduates of the college in the 1700s. Goldsmith was famed for his ‘college’ lifestyle but also his poetry and writing, including works such as The Vicar of Wakefield and The Deserted Village. Burke was a writer, philosopher and one of the foremost political thinkers of his day. He served as a member of the Whig Party in the House of Commons in Great Britain. He is said to be the father of modern conservatism.
This statue is a monumental work on the corner of St Stephen’s Green opposite the Shelbourne Hotel. Wolfe Tone (1763-1798) was a member of the Protestant elite and is considered the founder and Prophet of Irish Republican Nationalism. Today his name still resonates as a major contributor to the evolution of Irish political life. “The great object of my life has been the independence of my country. Looking upon the connection with England to have been her bane. I have endeavoured by every means in my power to break that connection …. to create a people in Ireland ….. by uniting the Catholics and the dissenters. For a fair and open war I was prepared, if that has degenerated into a system of assignation, massacre, and plunder I do most …. sincerely lament it” Wolfe Tone’s trial speech – Dublin 10 November 1798. Wolfe Tone’s death mask in on display in the vaults of St Michan’s Church on Church Street in Dublin.