Cork statue of Oliver Cromwell found after 8 years missing

Gardaí have recovered four limestone statues which were stolen in Charleville in 2011, including busts of William of Orange and Oliver Cromwell, left, and statues of eagles, right. Picture: Press 22

A lost statue of Oliver Cromwell with a nose for trouble has been recovered by gardaí nearly eight years after it was stolen from a Co Cork castle, along with three other limestone creations.

Gardaí have revealed that the life-sized bust of Cromwell, along with one of William of Orange and two statues of eagles, were recently discovered by a member of the public who was out hunting on lands near Cratloe, Co Clare.

The member of the public later mentioned the find in passing during a conversation with a garda, and a local officer remembered the 2011 theft.

Last Friday, gardaí recovered the haul near a derelict outhouse in woodlands.

The statues had been stolen from Milltown Castle in Charleville, during a theft which saw those responsible remove the eagles from 3m-high pillars.

The effort involved in removing the statues led gardaí to believe that a lorry with a Hiab-type arm-lift could have been used in the theft, and while a lorry was seen driving through a four-crossroad junction near Milltown Castle on the morning of the incident, no one was ever charged in connection with the heist.

While the owners of Milltown Castle have not spoken to the media about the find, at the time of the theft Claude Keane, whose family took over the estate in the 1890s, said the fixtures “were part of our life as we saw them every day when we came and went and they were like part of the family”.

“When I read up on Cromwell it was said he had a wart over his right eye,” Mr Keane told the Irish Examiner in 2011. “And sure enough when I checked there was a wart over the right eye of our fellow as well. The statues bothered nobody, although the IRA broke off the nose of Cromwell in 1921 when they hit it with a hammer.”

Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information about the theft, or who has information about how the property ended up in Clare, to contact Mallow Garda Station on 022 31450.

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