Dublin Statue Trail Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Dublin Statue Trail

4 Conversations

Some Dublin statues.

The centre of Dublin, Ireland has many statues. Some depict famous people in Ireland's history; others are of normal people going about their daily lives.

Dubliners are very fond of their statues, and sometimes give them amusing nicknames. Be warned! Some of these nicknames would be considered offensive in other countries; in Ireland, insults are considered the norm between friends and an Irish person is quite capable of applying an offensive epithet to someone they are extremely fond of1.

This Entry describes a walking tour of the centre of Dublin, taking in around 20 of these statues. The tour is a round trip - as described it starts at St Stephen's Green, but can be joined at any point in the circuit. Along the way you'll see quite a bit of the centre of Dublin, including the major shopping streets, the Temple Bar area, Georgian Dublin and a small glance at the Docklands. You'll also pass a few other statues which are not mentioned here - we've chosen the ones we think are the most interesting.

The description of each statue tells you a bit of the history of the character portrayed, where appropriate, and any tourist attractions along the route are pointed out as well.

Practical Details

  • The full tour is 8km in length, but can be shortened to 5.5km by leaving out seven of the statues - this is explained at the appropriate point. The time taken is about 3½ hours for the full tour or about 2½ hours for the shorter version. These both allow a few minutes at each statue to read about them, take photos etc, and a single 20-minute break for refreshments along the route.

  • Dublin does not appear to have any public toilets, so toilet breaks are best incorporated into stops for refreshment in the many coffee shops along the route.

  • Only two sections of the trail are not suitable for wheelchair users, and alternative routes are provided.

  • You should bring along some sort of protection against rain - only in the very best weather can Dublin be guaranteed to be free from rain.

  • Although the instructions provided here tell you exactly where to go, we recommend that you bring a street plan of Dublin with you.

The tour starts beside the terminus of the Green Luas tram line at St Stephen's Green. So without further ado: the Dublin Statue Trail.

1. Lord Ardilaun

Dublin Statue: Lord Ardilaun
Location:St Stephen's Green, west side, opposite York Street.
Artist:Thomas Farrell

This is not a particularly memorable statue, but it's a good place to start. The statue is within the park but is positioned to be viewed from outside the park, through the railings.

The statue shows a man sitting on a chair. The man's full name and title is Arthur Guinness, First Baron Ardilaun, although on the statue he is called Lord Ardilaun. He was the great-grandson of the original Arthur Guinness who developed the black drink of that name. The family made a lot of money from the brewery and became important in Irish society. Lord Ardilaun donated the sizeable park of St Stephen's Green, situated behind the statue, to the people of Dublin. The Green, as it is known, is one of Dublin's prettiest parks, with a lake, a central area of formal flowerbeds, and many shady spots for people to enjoy lunchtime breaks from the offices and shops in the area.

Where next?

Proceed north to the northwest corner of the Green, where you will see a giant stone arch. This is Fusiliers' Arch, a memorial to the Irish soldiers who died in the South African War, also known as the Second Boer War (1898 - 1902). Across the road from this is the ornate white metalwork of the St Stephen's Green Centre, a popular shopping centre.

Leave the Green and head north down Grafton Street, Dublin's number one pedestrian shopping street. This is the most popular place in Dublin for buskers. After a few hundred metres, turn left into Harry Street.

2. Phil Lynott

Dublin Statue: Phil Lynnott
Location:Harry Street (off Grafton Street)
Artist:Leo Higgins

Phil Lynott (1949 - 1986) was an oddity in Dublin in the early 1970s — a black person in a white country. He was the lead singer and bass player in the rock band Thin Lizzy, whose most famous hits were 'Whiskey in the Jar' and 'The Boys are Back in Town'. Phil died tragically when he was only 36. The statue in Harry Street shows him with his bass guitar.

Where next?

Return to Grafton Street and continue north along it. Watch out for Bewley's Oriental Café on the left. It is built on the site of Whyte's Academy, a school which was attended by such notables as Thomas Moore, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Robert Emmett and Arthur Wellesley. The café itself features stained glass windows by Harry Clarke at the back in the 'Café Bar Deli' section. It was also a popular meeting place for many Dubliners, including Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats - Bob wrote their hit 'Rat Trap' in the café. Continue on, crossing Suffolk Street.

3. Molly Malone

Dublin Statue: Molly Malone
Location:Lower Grafton Street, at intersection with Nassau Street/Suffolk Street
Nickname:The Tart with the Cart
Artist:Jeanne Rynhart

This is probably the most famous statue in Dublin, of a woman pushing a cart. Molly Malone is the fictional fishmonger from an old Dublin song:

In Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow,
Crying 'Cockles and Mussels, Alive, Alive-O'

This song, which probably dates from the late 19th Century, has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin. The phrase 'Fair City' is even the title of a long-running TV soap about the city. And cockles and mussels, both types of shellfish, are still available in abundance in Dublin Bay.

Where next?

Continue north along Grafton Street. This part is not pedestrian, and has the wall of Trinity College on the east side. The road soon reaches College Green.

4. Burke and Goldsmith

Dublin Statue: Burke and Goldsmith
Location:College Green, on either side of the main gate of Trinity College
Artist:John Henry Foley

College Green was originally called Hoggen Green. It has buildings on three sides: on the north side is a giant pillared building with no windows, now the Bank of Ireland but originally the Irish Houses of Parliament. On the south side are a number of banks and shops. To the east stands Trinity College, the only member college of the University of Dublin. Trinity dates from 1592 although most of the buildings are more recent. Statues of Edmund Burke and Oliver Goldsmith stand on either side of the main gate, known as 'Front Arch'.

Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797) graduated from Trinity College in 1748 and became an important politician in the government of the United Kingdom. He instigated debates on a number of topics including political emancipation, particularly for Ireland, and the impact of the French Revolution on the United Kingdom.

Oliver Goldsmith (1730 - 1774) graduated from Trinity College in 1749. He became a poet and playwright. His most famous works are the novel The Vicar of Wakefield, the poem The Deserted Village and the play She Stoops to Conquer.

Where next?

If you want, you can now take a little detour through Front Arch into Trinity College. The imposing Front Square is just behind the arch. Directly in front of you stands the Campanile, a sort of arched bell tower. You may see some tourists standing under the Campanile, but you won't see any students there, as a traditional superstition says that any student that is under the arches of the Campanile when the bell rings will fail their final exams. Since the bell rings at totally unpredictable times, no student is willing to take the risk!

For a slightly longer detour, you might like to visit the Book of Kells exhibition, which is within the College. End your detour by leaving the College back through Front Arch.

Cross the end of Grafton Street at the pedestrian lights, then cross College Green to the pillared Bank of Ireland. Go west along College Green (away from Trinity College), passing the National Wax Museum, until you reach Dame Street, with the imposing Central Bank on the north side. This building looks like a giant stack of concrete slabs. It was built 'from the top down', starting with the top floor resting on a central column. The other floors were then built around the column at ground level and hoisted up into place. You can still see the cables that they hang from, running down the outside of the building.

There's a nice sculpture of a tree here, by Eamonn O'Doherty, who also made statue 10 on our trail.

The next part of the trail is difficult for those in wheelchairs, with narrow pavements, cobblestones and some steps, so such people should skip on to the special instructions for them.

For those more able walkers, take the pedestrian path down the east side of the Central Bank (signposted for Henry Street, Temple Bar and Crown Alley), and continue north along Crown Alley through the Temple Bar area. This is where many of Dublin's restaurants are located, as well as shops selling inexpensive clothes and jewellery. As a result it is much frequented by Dublin students. Continue through Merchant's Arch and cross the River Liffey on the pedestrian Ha'penny Bridge. This is one of Dublin's most famous landmarks. It was built in 1816 to replace a ferry that operated at this point. The toll of a halfpenny was used to pay off the cost of building the bridge, and was collected until 1919.

At the north end of the bridge, cross the road.

Alternative route to Statue 5 for Wheelchair Users

Unfortunately the wheelchair route misses out on the restaurant and cheap shopping area of Temple Bar, because the streets are cobbled and the pavements are rough and narrow, making it very difficult to negotiate a wheelchair through them.

Continue past the Central Bank and take the fourth turn right, into Eustace Street. At the end of Eustace Street, cross the pedestrian Millennium Bridge. There's a good view from the middle of it of the cast iron Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin's most picturesque bridge and a major Dublin landmark. Turn right and, after a few metres, right again onto the wooden 'Boardwalk' suspended above the River Liffey. Go along this until the end of the Ha'penny Bridge, at which point cross the road.

5. Meeting Place

Dublin Statue: Meeting Place
Location:Lower Liffey Street
Material:Bronze and Stone
Nickname:The Hags with the Bags
Artist:Jakki McKenna

Here you will find a pleasant stone seat, with two women sitting on it talking to each other. They've taken a rest from their shopping and their bags full of purchases are on the ground beside them. The bags clearly show that the women have been shopping in Arnott's, a large department store on Henry Street. The statue is much loved by Dubliners, because it shows normal people doing normal things - it doesn't involve anyone looking noble.

Where next?

Recross the road, back to the end of the Ha'penny Bridge. Just to the left of the bridge you will see a gap in the wall, and a wooden walkway that is suspended above the river. This is the Boardwalk. Take this as far as the next bridge: O'Connell Bridge.

The road going north from O'Connell Bridge is O'Connell Street, the main street of Dublin. It has many statues along the centre of it but we're only going to look at a few. Cross Bachelor's Walk and then O'Connell Street as far as the centre.

6. Daniel O'Connell

Dublin Statue: Daniel O'Connell
Location:O'Connell Street, south end
Artist:John Henry Foley

Daniel O'Connell (1775 - 1847) was an Irish politician who served in the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, as it was then. He was a Catholic, and fought the cause for Catholic emancipation for many years, eventually achieving it in 1829. He is known by the nickname of 'The Liberator', because his place in Irish history is so important.

The O'Connell Monument is one of those Victorian monstrosities that are so much in contrast with modern sculpture. It's a huge stone structure with a statue of Daniel O'Connell at the top, but there are lots of other people forming a frieze around the structure, and four seated angels at the base. The principal figure of the frieze is Ireland; she is holding a copy of the Catholic emancipation act, and with an up-stretched arm points to the Liberator. The angels around the base are Patriotism, with a sword and shield, Fidelity, with a dog, Eloquence, with a speech, and Courage, strangling a snake.

Where next?

Continue north away from the river along the centre of O'Connell Street.

7. James Larkin

Dublin Statue: Jim Larkin
Location:O'Connell Street
Artist:Oisín Kelly

James Larkin (1876 - 1947), known as 'Big Jim', was a trade union leader in the early years of the 20th Century. He set up the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU), known today as SIPTU (Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union). Along with James Connolly, he set up the Irish Labour Party. He was instrumental in the Dublin Lockout of 1913; employers dismissed workers for being members of his union, and he responded by organising a city-wide strike which escalated into a seven-month impasse, with employers locking out union members. The lockout eventually established the right to belong to a union and brought better pay and conditions for workers in Dublin.

Larkin in later years became a communist and a sympathiser with the Soviet Union, causing him to be thrown out of the United States of America.

The statue shows Larkin in the middle of one of his speeches, waving his hands in the air.

Where next?

Cross the street to the west side, the left side as you look north away from the river.

8. Cúchulainn

Location:General Post Office, O'Connell Street
Artist:Oliver Sheppard

Dublin's General Post Office (GPO) is the pillared building on the west side of O'Connell Street. It was the centre of Irish resistance against the UK government in the Rising of 1916, and has been an important symbol of the Republic ever since. The statue we're looking for is inside the Post Office, but it is positioned in a window so that it is visible from the street.

Cúchulainn was a mythological hero of ancient Ireland. His name is pronounced 'coo-hull-un'. There are many stories about him — the one depicted here is his death. The hero was injured in the battle against the forces of Queen Maedhbh of Connaught, but was determined to go on fighting to the last. He tied himself to a stone pillar so that his body would be held upright and he could continue wielding his sword. When he finally died, his enemies were afraid that he was only feigning death and would not approach. Then a raven landed on the hero's shoulder and he didn't move. They knew then that he was really dead.

Although this statue was made in 1911, it was later dedicated to all the people who died in the Easter Rising of 1916.

Where next?

Just beyond the GPO is the end of Henry Street, Dublin's other major pedestrian shopping street - we're not going to go down it, though. Crossing to the centre of O'Connell Street, you can't miss Ireland's biggest sculpture, the Spire. Continue crossing the street and proceed down North Earl Street.

9. James Joyce

Dublin Statue: James Joyce
Location:North Earl Street
Nickname:The Prick with the Stick
Artist:Marjorie Fitzgibbon

Novelist James Joyce (1882 - 1941) was born in Dublin, but went to live in Europe in 1904 when he was 22. He only returned to Ireland four times after that, the last time being in 1912. Nevertheless, Joyce's novels were about Dublin, first his collection of short stories, Dubliners, then his autobiographical A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Joyce's most famous work, Ulysses, sets the standard by which modern novels are judged. It tells the stories of two characters on a single day, as they wander around Dublin, eventually meeting late in the night. It is written in many styles, ranging through purple prose, scientific report, journalese and stream-of-consciousness monologue. Joyce's later book Finnegans Wake pushes the English language so far that it is considered unreadable by many people.

Where next?

Continue along North Earl Street away from the Spire, turn right onto Marlborough Street, then left onto Abbey Street. At the corner of Marlborough Street and Abbey Street stands the building which houses the Abbey Theatre and the Peacock Theatre. The Abbey is Ireland's 'National Theatre'. It was set up in 1903 by Lady Augusta Gregory and poet WB Yeats2 to allow the staging of plays by Irish writers and of Irish interest.

Walk east along the right (south) side of Abbey Street. At the end, cross Beresford Place and turn right just before the overhead railway bridge.

10. James Connolly

Dublin Statue: James Connolly
Location:Beresford Place
Material:Bronze and stone
Artist:Eamonn O'Doherty

James Connolly was a socialist revolutionary interested in overthrowing the existing government and establishing a new order ruled by the workers. His aims roughly coincided with those of Patrick Pearse, a poet and visionary who wanted to see independence for Ireland and the establishment of an Irish-speaking state. They decided it would make sense to combine their two revolutions and to worry about what type of government they were fighting for later — what was important was what they were fighting against.

Their combined Easter Rising in 1916 was quickly suppressed by the UK forces. Connolly and Pearse were executed, along with five other leaders.

Connolly's statue shows him standing against a backdrop of the stars of the Plough, the symbol of the Irish Labour Party. He is facing Liberty Hall, the tallest building in Dublin and the headquarters of the SIPTU union.

Where next?

Go south towards the river, then turn left under the overhead railway bridge onto Custom House Quay.

11. Custom House Riverine Heads

Dublin Statue: Riverine Heads
Location:Custom House Quay
Artist:Edward Smyth
Year: 1791

The Custom House is the imposing building with the pillars and dome on Custom House Quay. It was the administrative centre for collecting custom duties imposed in Dublin Port. It is still an important office of the Irish Civil Service. The building was designed by James Gandon, who was also responsible for many other monumental buildings in Dublin.

What we're looking out for here is not strictly a statue. It is the carved stone heads over the doors and windows of the building. You'll see five of these on the side of the building facing the river, but there are 14 in total. Every one of these is different. One represents the Atlantic Ocean while the other 13 each represent one of the rivers of Ireland. Dublin's River Liffey is the only one of the heads which is female - she can easily be recognised by the lack of a beard. She has pride of place in the central position facing the river. Many of these heads were shown on the reverse side of the old Irish banknotes.

Where next?

Continue along Custom House Quay. The next traffic lights are at a very busy crossing. It is safest to go east across Memorial Road as far as the traffic island, then south across Custom House Quay itself. Continue on beside the river. You are now entering the Docklands area, in the process of being redeveloped as a business district.

12. Famine

Dublin Statue: Famine
Location:Custom House Quay
Artist:Rowan Gillespie

The population of Ireland in 1750 was four million people. By 1840, the number had risen to eight million. This phenomenal increase was entirely due to one crop — the 'lumper' potato. This variety could grow in poor soil and was very nutritious, particular when accompanied by a drink of buttermilk. But a society dependent on a single crop is a precarious one. In 1841, disaster struck. A blight caused the potato crop to fail and many people had no other source of food. Famine was widespread. By 1845, half a million people had died and another half a million had fled the country, either to England or to America. This mass exodus of the Irish continued over the next century so that the population went back down to four million and only recently has started to rise again.

The group of emaciated statues reminds us of the starving Irish who trudged down to the port to take the boat and leave Ireland for ever.

Where next?

Continue along the river. Note the United Nations Eradication of Poverty Day Memorial, set into the ground. Cross the pedestrian Sean O'Casey Bridge: from the centre you will normally be able to see the Jeanie Johnston, a sailing ship which is a replica of the 'famine ships' which brought the starving Irish to other countries during the Famine. Also note the harp-like shape of the next bridge, the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Continue crossing the river, then turn right.

13. The Linesman

Dublin Statue: Linesman
Location:City Quay
Artist:Dony McManus

'The Linesman' is another statue of somebody going about their everyday work. He is hauling on a rope to make fast a ship that has arrived in the port. This part of the river is still accessible to ships, as all the bridges downstream either lift or swing clear, but it is rarely that any ship ventures this far. The main port of Dublin is now further downstream.

Where next?

Return to the end of the pedestrian bridge, and cross the road. There is a giant anchor here commemorating the Irish merchant sailors who lost their lives at sea during the Second World War. Walk away from the river here up Lombard Street and Westland Row. Just after going under the overhead pedestrian walkway, watch out for the climbing wall behind the glass window - this is the Trinity College Gym. At the end of Westland Row, after a quick left and right turn, continue up Merrion Street. At Merrion Square, continue on, and after a few metres, enter the park on the left through a small gate in the railings. Once inside the gate, turn left.

14. Oscar Wilde

Dublin Statue: Oscar Wilde
Location:Merrion Square, northeast corner
Material:Stone of various colours
Nickname:The Quare in the Square
Artist:Danny Osborne

This is probably Dublin's best statue. It is inside the park of Merrion Square, and can only really be seen from inside the park, so you'll have to arrive before closing time, which varies between 9:30pm in midsummer and 4:30pm in midwinter. We thought it worth including anyway, because of the quality of the statue.

Oscar Wilde was a poet, playwright and wit. He was famous for always being elegantly turned out, wearing a green carnation in his buttonhole, and always ready with a witty riposte for any situation. His most famous literary works are probably his plays The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere's Fan and his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Wilde was born in Dublin and studied at Trinity College, but continued his education in Oxford and then settled in London. He became one of the most important figures in London society. Although he married, he was a homosexual at a time when it was officially illegal. He made the mistake of getting involved with a young man, Lord Alfred Douglas. Douglas was the son of the Marquis of Queensbury, who was an influential man. Soon Wilde was arrested and sent to prison. He came out of prison a broken man, and fled in shame to France where he lived out the rest of his days. He is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

The statue of Wilde is quite impressive. The great man lolls on a rock, and is positioned so that he is looking at the last house on the north side of Merrion Square, the house where he once lived. The statue is made from stone of different colours - Wilde's jacket is green stone with red stone cuffs, for example.

Also part of the sculpture are two stone pillars which are covered in quotations from Wilde. One has a bronze figure of a naked woman kneeling on the top, while the other has a bronze male torso. These indicate Wilde's ambiguous sexuality and aesthetic sensibilities.

Where next?

Leave the park by the entrance you came in.

Cutting the Statue Trail Short

You can skip statues 15 to 21 and knock 2.5 kilometres off your journey at this point if you are getting tired. You'll miss a man, a horse, a child, a nun and three naked women! Simply walk up the west side of Merrion Square and turn right at the first traffic lights onto Merrion Row. This will bring you directly to statue 22.

Along the route, you will pass on the right the National Gallery, then Leinster House, the seat of Ireland's government: the Dáil. Further on you will see the Natural History Museum.

Continuing the Tour

Assuming you didn't take the shorter route, cross the north side of Merrion Square, then walk along it keeping the park on your right. Almost at the end of the square, turn left onto Holles Street. The large red-brick building on the corner is the National Maternity Hospital, where most people in Dublin were born, including the author of this Entry. At the next traffic lights (the Stork shop), turn right. Proceed along Hogan Place, which soon becomes Grand Canal Street. As you walk along this stretch of road, the skyline in front of you is dominated by the Aviva Stadium. Completed in 2010, it has a capacity of 50,000 spectators and hosts both rugby and association football.

We're not going as far as the stadium. Stop just before the bridge over the canal.

15. Aspiration - The Climbing Woman

Dublin Statue: Aspiration
Location: The Treasury Building, south end, Lower Grand Canal Street
Artist:Rowan Gillespie

This one is in a rather out-of-the-way part of the city; the area was very dilapidated in the past but has recently been redeveloped. The Treasury Building is a tall office block made from the old Boland's Bakery building. High up on the southeast wall of the building is a bronze statue of a naked woman climbing up the building.

Many people gave their lives near this spot during the Easter 1916 Rising, aspiring towards freedom, peace and a united Ireland. The figure represents Ireland climbing towards these goals - she has nearly attained them, but even today there is still a distance to go.

Where next?

Now turn right just before the bridge across the canal, and walk along Clanwilliam Place, which runs parallel to the canal. The Grand Canal is smaller than its name suggests. It was built in the late 18th Century to bring goods between Dublin and the Shannon, taking about 50 years to build and only fully opening in 1804, but was made redundant by the introduction of the railways about 50 years later.

Crossing Lower Mount Street, continue by the canal along Warrington Place. On the left you will see Huband Bridge, probably the most picturesque bridge over the canal. Turn right into Mount Street Crescent.

You are now in the Georgian Dublin area. Most of the houses date from around 1800. They are made from brown brick and are tall and narrow, with tall, narrow windows. Above the solid wood front doors are semicircular 'fanlight' windows.

16. Memories of Mount Street

Dublin Statue: Memories of Mount Street
Location:Mount Street Crescent, between St Stephen's Church ('the Pepper Canister') and the canal.
Artist:Derek A Fitzsimons

A statue of a child playing on the street - a girl swings out of a rope attached to an old-fashioned lamppost.

My father grew up in this area, when these giant houses were all slums with five or six families per house. He played on these streets and no doubt swung out of a rope tied around a lamppost.
— an h2g2 Researcher

Where next?

Continue along Mount Street Crescent just a few metres as far as Crescent Hall and look up above the door.

17. Birdy

Dublin Statue: Birdy
Location:Crescent Hall, Mount Street Crescent
Artist:Rowan Gillespie

A naked woman crouches on the ledge above the door. The title of the work is 'Birdy'. She represents a bird that has just been freed from its cage and is about to fly away.

Where next?

Return to the road beside the canal, cross it and turn right, so that you are now walking beside the canal on Herbert Place.

18. Barge Horse

Dublin Statue: Barge Horse
Location: Far side of canal, Herbert Place
Artist:Maurice Harron

This is possibly the biggest statue on the trail. You can't get up close to the giant statue of a barge horse, but can look at it across the canal. It commemorates the horses that pulled the barges along the canal before the advent of motorised transport. Standing beside the horse is the boy who would have led the horse.

Where next?

Continue walking along beside the canal. At the next bridge (Baggot Street Bridge), cross the canal, then turn right so that you are still walking along parallel to the canal. Turn left down Burlington Road (signposted for the National Bahá'í Centre). About 100m along the road on the right hand side is the next statue.

19. Queen Maedhbh

Dublin Statue: Queen Maedhbh
Location:Burlington Road, west side, in front of Connaught House
Artist:Patrick O'Reilly

The modern pronunciation of this name is 'Mave' to rhyme with 'save', but in ancient Irish it may have been pronounced 'made-b'.

Queen Maedhbh is a mythological figure from the old tales of Ireland. She was Queen of Connaught, the westernmost of the five provinces of Ireland3. She was a warrior queen, and led her people into battle. The most famous story about Maedhbh is how she was annoyed to find that her husband owned a better bull than she did, so she decided to lead a raid to steal the best bull in Ireland, and in doing so started a war between Ulster and the other four provinces. The hero Cúchulainn was given the task of single-handedly defending Ulster against the rest of Ireland because the other men of Ulster had been cursed.

This huge statue depicts Maedhbh as a giant woman with a spear in one hand, the head of a bull in the other and a crow on her shoulder. The statue is naked to represent her enormous sexual appetite.

Where next?

Walk back towards the canal. Just to the right of the lock gate is a bench in wood and stone. Look carefully at this - it is dedicated to the poet Patrick Kavanagh. We'll explain about this in a minute. Now cross the footbridge attached to the lock gate. Those in wheelchairs and people who are not steady on their feet, retrace your steps and cross at Baggot Street Bridge. Just to the right of the lock gate, opposite the first bench, is a second bench in wood and stone, dedicated to the poet Percy French. Now turn left and go upstream a few metres to the next statue.

20. Patrick Kavanagh

Dublin Statue: Patrick Kavanagh
Location:Grand Canal, north side, at Wilton Terrace
Artist:John Coll

Sitting on a bench facing the canal is the statue of the poet Patrick Kavanagh (1904 - 1967). He was born in County Monaghan, but came to Dublin in search of work. While sitting on a bench by the lock one day, he wrote a poem:

O commemorate me where there is water,
Canal water, preferably, so stilly
Greeny at the heart of summer. [...]
O commemorate me with no hero-courageous
Tomb—just a canal-bank seat for the passer-by.

There's room beside the poet on the bench for another person or two to share the view of the stilly, greeny water.

But this is not the first monument to the poet. After the poet's death, some of his friends clubbed together and raised the money to build the memorial that the poet had requested - just a simple canal-bank seat for the passer-by. In fact, it's the wood and stone bench we've already seen on the south side of the canal, and was erected in 1968. Many years later, the sculptor John Coll created the statue you're looking at now, and it was erected on the north side of the canal, slightly upstream from the lock.

Bizarrely, the original seat on which Kavanagh wrote his poem is now gone, but the bench in memory of Percy French is built on the same site, and there is a plaque behind it commemorating Patrick Kavanagh. So there are three separate memorials to the poet at this one canal lock!

Where next?

Go back along the canal as far as Baggot Street Bridge. Cross Wilton Terrace, then cross Baggot Street. Go up Baggot Street away from the canal. Set into the wall of the first house (Number 73) you will see a small relief of a bird, entitled 'The Turnstone'. This is the headquarters of the Health Research Board, and the plaque represents the inquiring spirit of research.

Continue along the street as far as the Mercy International Centre.

21. Sister Catherine McAuley

Dublin Statue: Sister Catherine McAuley
Location:Mercy International Centre, 64A Lower Baggot Street
Artist:Michael Burke

This statue of a nun and a woman carrying a baby represents Sister Catherine McAuley (1778 - 1841), the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, an order of nuns. Her first project was the House of Mercy, on the site of the present Mercy Centre you are standing at. It was a school for poor children, a shelter for girls coming from the farms to find work, and a place where girls could learn a trade and sell their goods. The nuns are still involved worldwide in the running of hospitals and schools. Sister Catherine was also commemorated on the £5 note of the Irish currency in use from 1992 to 2001.

Where next?

Continue along Baggot Street until you come to St Stephen's Green. Just before you reach the Green, watch out for the tiny Huguenot Cemetery dating from 1693 on the right hand side. It's not open to the public but you can look in through the railings. The Huguenots were French Protestants who fled to Ireland because of religious persecution.

22. Wolfe Tone

Dublin Statue: Wolfe Tone
Location:St Stephen's Green, northeast corner.
Material:Bronze and Stone
Artist:Edward Delaney

Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763 - 1798) was a member of the Irish aristocracy who supported a rebellion in 1798 against the English. His rebellion failed and he was captured and sentenced to death. He died of a wound soon after that, but it is not clear what caused it. The statue is in bronze, but it is against a background of rough-hewn vertical slabs of stone which form part of the sculpture.

Where next?

Continue along the north side of St Stephen's Green. Here there are a number of different tours around Dublin available: there are open-topped buses, horse-drawn carriages and the Viking Splash - which takes you along the streets and also into the water using a World War II amphibious vehicle. Turn left onto the west side of St Stephen's Green and it's a short walk to Lord Ardilaun.


The trail is now complete. Along the way, you've seen many of the tourist 'sights' of Dublin. We hope you've found some areas which you consider are worth further exploration. We also hope you've enjoyed the walk and have learnt something about Dublin and about Dubliners.

Other sights which are not covered by the walk include St Patrick's Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedral; Dublin Zoo; the Chester Beatty Library, with its priceless collection of ancient manuscripts; the National Gallery; the Natural History Museum; the Museum of Archaeology and History; and the Guinness Brewery.

1So before you report this Entry for being indecent, remember that these nicknames are the ones that Dubliners use fondly.2There's a statue representing Yeats by Sir Henry Moore in St Stephen's Green, but it's not on the trail as it is too hard to give directions to and is not accessible to wheelchairs. The statue only vaguely resembles a person.3Modern Ireland has four provinces: Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught. In ancient times there was also a province of Meath, which has since become part of Leinster.

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Edited Entry


Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Categorised In:

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more