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Decoding the Statues and Sculptures of Dublin by Neal Doherty

Having lived in Dublin for more than 50 years, I felt that I knew the city well; that was until I retired from my first career and started to work as a Dublin tourist guide. It was then that I discovered how little I actually knew: the origin of street names, the history of buildings and the stories behind the sculptures and statues of the city. It was while researching for information that I might need to know as a guide that I discovered that there was no one publication that told the story of all of the sculptures and statues in Dublin city. Indeed, often the work is not signed or credited to the sculptor, which is a shame as their input is very important.

Many people pass by some of the 250 statues and sculptures on a daily basis without giving them a second thought or realising the symbolism contained on them.  There are indeed many masked messages and stories hidden on the statues of Dublin from the man carrying the child in the Famine Group on Custom House Quay to the wave pattern on the statue of Daniel O’Connell on Dublin’s main thoroughfare. These mysteries are decoded in the book which divides the city into five manageable chunks with maps, photographs and explanations of each work.

The Complete Guide to the Statues and Sculptures of Dublin City poses three challenges for the reader:

  • 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?

Very few Dubliners have the answers to these questions despite their daily encounters with the statues of Dublin. Neal Doherty will hold a number of talks on his book The Complete Guide to the Statues and Sculptures of Dublin City:

* Monday 6th November at 8.00 pm in the RDA Hall Annex. (Rathdrum Development Association)

* Wednesday 15th November at 8.00 pm in the Royal Marine Hotel Dun Laoghaire. (Dun Laoghaire Historical Society meeting)

* Saturday 18th November at 7.30 pm in The United Arts Club, 3 Fitzwilliam Street. (Admission €5)

* Tuesday 17th April at 8.00 pm at the Foxrock Historical Society.