Four iconic statues from O’Connell Street, including that of Daniel O’Connell, will be removed for four years while the construction of a new underground railway for Dublin is underway.
An Bord Pleanala, the Irish Planning body, will give a decision on the project this month. The Metro North will run from Saint Stephen’s Green north as far as Dublin Airport and Swords.
The statues which will be moved to the Collin’s Barrack’s museum are of Daniel O’Connell, William Smith O’Brien, Sir John Gray and James Larkin.
The heritage officer for the Railway Procurement Agency, in Ireland, Donncha O’Dulaing explained the historic significant of each of these statues placed on the main street of Dublin.
He told the BBC “Daniel [O’Connell] is cast in bronze and is known as the 'Liberator".
"He was a Catholic landowner from the west of Ireland who eventually became elected as an MP to Westminster, following Catholic emancipation, something he fought very hard and long for."
Next on O’Connell Street is William Smith O'Brien, cast in marble. "He was a Conservative MP but he became very much enamoured with the whole movement for Catholic emancipation and turned more onto the nationalist side," said O'Dulaing.
"Behind William is Sir John Gray...He was a physician but also very strong on the political nationalist side in Ireland in the 19th century."
The fourth statue is a newer fixture and shows James Larkin, who played a leading role in trade unionism in Belfast and Dublin.
O'Dulaing said “Jim Larkin was put up in the mid 1970s . It shows him in the very iconic stance of arms outstretched imploring the people to rise from their knees for the cause of labour."
Seamus Lynam is head of services at the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks. He believes that the public will get a better view of the statues as they stand in the four corners of the courtyard at the museum.
He explained “They won't have their main plinths with them so people will have a much much better view of them than they might have had going through O'Connell Street at eye level."
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