Monday, April 09, 2007

Street Sculpture

At this stage people have become very familiar with what is referred to as street sculpture. These are not statues on pedestals. Rather are they life size figures, usually in bronze, depicting historical or symbolic persons, and designed to fit into the context of the street where they appear.

In Dublin, for example, we have James Joyce outside the Kylemore Bakery/Café in Tablbot Street, Molly Malone with her barrow at the bottom of Grafton Street, or Patrick Kavanagh resting on a bench along the banks of his beloved canal.

There are some interesting examples ouside the capital, however, and I thought you might like to see a few of these which I came across in recent times.

Click on the images for larger versions.


Although they never actually met, Oscar and Eduard Wilde are depicted relaxing and conversing in Galway's Shop Street.

Eduard was an Estonian writer who was a contemporary of Wilde's. He lived 1865-1933, while Oscar lived 1854-1900.

These sculptures are more stylised than lifelike.


Much more lifelike are these characters from the Square in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo.

I took some shots from close up and almost found myself apologising to the guy in the cap for being in his face.

This group, and particularly the man with the cap, had a real presence.

It is entitled Lá an Aonaigh or Market Day. The sculptor is Rory Breslin and the project is connected with the Mayo Millennium Sculpture Initiative.


The West of Ireland has been decimated by emigration from the famine times onwards. It was particularly heavy during the 1950s. While the rest of Europe was basking in a post-war resurgence, Ireland was experiencing a prolonged depressing recession.

Emigration during this time, and in previous decades, had been so heavy that a significant income inflow in the national accounts came under the heading "Emigrants' Remittances".

This very striking sculpture, entiltled "I'll Send You The Fare" is in Kiltimagh's main street and is dedicated to the young men and women who emigrated from Kiltimagh, Bohola, and the surrounding areas during the 1950s.

The sculptor is Sally McKenna.

Kiltimagh has a strong literary tradition and it is very hard to escape the presence of Raftery the Poet in the town. From the Raftery Rooms, now sadly closed, to Raftery Square, the town resonates to the poet's words.

This street sculpture of a man reading his newspaper testifies to the town's literacy.

Unfortunately it is somewhat contradicted by the grammatical mistakes in the cast dedication plaque for the emigrant street sculpture and by the sign over Sparky's Variety Store in the main street.

Some more street sculpture here and here.

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