Submissions sought for monument to honour Daniel O’Connell

Submissions are being invited for a public monument to the Liberator, Daniel O’Connell, in his native Cahersiveen — the first such monument in the south Kerry town centre.

Submissions sought for monument to honour Daniel O’Connell

Local development agency ACARD is the project promoter and the memorial will be located on a prime street front position.

It is planned to locate it outside the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church, the only church in Christendom to be named after a lay person.

A site, which will involve knocking down part of the high wall which obscures the fine church, is being donated by the church council but the new memorial itself will not obscure the building.

The scale and type of monument to the great orator, French speaker, lawyer, pro-European and Catholic emancipator is not restricted and could include a plaza and may, or may not, include a likeness of O’Connell.

“The artwork should capture the imagination of the public and tourists alike and offer the opportunity for interaction and reflection and become an iconic ‘must see’ monument on the famous Ring of Kerry route,” the project’s briefing papers indicated.

A budget of €100,000 is being set aside to include all costs and the planned commission has been advertised in a number of national and international art magazines.

Michael O’Driscoll of Acard said Cahersiveen needed a monument to its famous son.

Dublin’s main street, he noted, was named after him and the monument there might be an inspiration for the Cahersiveen proposal, or it might not — it might be something totally abstract.

The organisers have deliberately not been specific about any aspect of the monument, he said.

“We haven’t specified the size or even a statue just like him — we are leaving it up to the imagination of the artist,” Mr O’Driscoll said.

The completed work will occupy the corner of the Church which is right in the centre of the long town stretching towards the sea.

Detailed maps and photographs accompany the invitation and submissions must be lodged by June 30.

O’Connell, meanwhile, was born just outside Cahersiveen at Carhan near the Fertha river on August 6, 1775.

His family home, despite being in ruins, is still recognizable.

A bust, however, marks the spot.

He studied at Douai in France and was admitted as a barrister to Lincoln’s Inn in 1794, transferring to Dublin two years later.

O’Connell was an MP for Kerry in the 1830s and he led the Irish nationalist party in the House of Commons.

He died in 1847 at Genoa while making his way to Rome.

Hugely opposed to slavery, O’Connell’s writings have inspired leaders from Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King.

As well as Dublin’s main thoroughfare, the main street of Limerick is named after him while, it is hoped, a proposed monument in Cahersiveen will now join the illustrious parade.

Submissions are being invited to Marina Offices, The Pier, Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry by the end of June.

  • email: The project is supported too by Kerry County Council’s arts department.

More in this section