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Stolen Virgin Mary statue found dumped in university car park

The statue's hands were broken off.

A statue of the Virgin Mary that had disappeared from a grotto near University College Cork was found dumped in a nearby car park.

Residents of Horgan’s Buildings near Magazine Road awoke on Tuesday morning to discover that the statue had disappeared overnight — and the finger of suspicion was pointed firmly at college students out celebrating Freshers’ Week.

UCC’s Students Union intervened and offered its offices as an anonymous drop-off point for the statue for any student who may have taken it as a drunken prank and was too embarrassed to return it the following morning.

However the statue was found dumped in bushes some 300m away in a UCC carpark between College Road and Horgan’s Buildings by a resident late on Tuesday night. The statue had been damaged, with its hands broken off.

A local man said: “We are just glad to get the statue back. We didn’t think we’d see it again.”