Gardaí check CCTV as historic sculpture taken from Cork street

The theft of a historic sculpture from St Patrick’s Street has reignited a long-running conversation in Cork City about the handling of historic artefacts.

Gardaí check CCTV as historic sculpture taken from Cork street

The theft of a historic sculpture from St Patrick’s Street has reignited a long-running conversation in Cork City about the handling of historic artefacts.

It is understood that gardaí are reviewing CCTV footage to try to identify the culprits behind the theft of Seamus Murphy’s sculpted limestone dog bowl, which was removed from 124 St Patrick’s St.

Historian and city council member Kieran McCarthy described himself as “saddened and furious” at the theft.

Dunscombe’s Fountain at the bottom of Shandon St, Cork. Picture: Irish Examiner
Dunscombe’s Fountain at the bottom of Shandon St, Cork. Picture: Irish Examiner

“It is a well-known piece of heritage in Cork,” he said.

“It has been there for nearly 60 years and it has not been interfered with in six decades.

The piece has huge cultural value. Someone trying to sell this piece will be unable to because of how well-written-about this trough is on social media.

To remove it would have required some machinery as it was based in concrete. There is intense CCTV in the area and that should be able to help identify the culprits.”

The trough’s disappearance is not the first time a piece of Cork’s heritage has vanished.

Passers-by spotted that the piece was missing yesterday and Cork City Council’s heritage officer has now confirmed that it was removed without the knowledge of the local authority.

Elected members of Cork City Council have frequently raised concerns about historical works that were once in the city’s possession.

Niamh Twomey, heritage officer at Cork City Council, is appealing for the safe return of the piece and asked members of the public to contact Anglesea St Garda Station or Cork City Council Heritage Office if they have any information on the sculpture’s whereabouts or if they see the item for sale.

“Our overriding concern is that this item is returned safely as this is a significant piece of Cork city’s heritage, created by the sculptor, Seamus Murphy,” she said.

It is held in great affection by many Corkonians. It really is a great loss and every effort needs to be made to retrieve it and return it to its rightful place.

Questions remain about the whereabouts of the antique Dunscombe Testimonial Fountain. Donated to the city by the family of the same name in the 19th century, city officials have admitted that they have no idea where the item currently is. It once stood at the end of Shandon St, adjacent to North Gate Bridge, but has long been on the missing list.

A fountain which once stood at Emmet Place in the 1980s is also on the missing list. This fountain marked in kilometres the distance between Cork and the capitals of all the EEC states. It was installed to mark the Year of the Environment and was officially switched on in February 1987.

The limestone sculpture stood at 124 St Patrick’s St since the 1950s when it was commissioned by businessman Knolly Stokes.
The limestone sculpture stood at 124 St Patrick’s St since the 1950s when it was commissioned by businessman Knolly Stokes.

A plaque, presented to the people of Cork by the French city of Rennes in the 1980s as a symbol of friendship, has disappeared from its location in Mahon.

Members of Cork City Council have previously criticised the local authority’s care of heritage items. Specifically, questions have been asked about the historic fireman’s hut that once stood on St Patrick’s St as another example.

The hut has been in storage in Fitzgerald’s Park for a number of years.

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