WATCH: Moby Dick sculpture sees Ahab return to Youghal

A sculpture dedicated to a 1956 film directed by John Huston and starring Gregory Peck will shortly go on display in the town which was one of its main shooting locations.

WATCH: Moby Dick sculpture sees Ahab return to Youghal

A sculpture dedicated to a 1956 film directed by John Huston and starring Gregory Peck will shortly go on display in the town which was one of its main shooting locations.

Youghal, Co Cork, doubled as New Bedford, a town in 19th-century New England, where Captain Ahab (Peck) and his whaling crew were based before encountering the legendary white whale in the titular feature, Moby Dick.

The Moby Dick sculpture has been produced by Cloyne-based sculptor Matthew Thompson and will soon be placed on the quayside near the town’s tourist office.

Many exterior scenes set in New Bedford were shot on location in the East Cork town.

They included Linehan’s butchers, which had a frontage similar to a pub and that’s what Huston used it as, as well as his own headquarters to plan each day’s filming.

Councillor Mary Linehan-Foley, the daughter of the late owner of the premises, Paddy Linehan, explained that it was her mother, Maureen, who had the idea to turn it into a pub.

“Shortly after the filming finished my mother came up with the idea and called the pub Moby Dick’s.

“There have been a huge number of tourists visiting it ever since and there is an amount of history of the filming up on the walls,” said Ms Linehan-Foley.

“There was nothing in Youghal at the time, but the locals earned a fortuneacting as extras during the filming.

“It certainly marked the arrival of Youghal as a tourist town.”

Actor Gregory Peck on the set of the film ‘Moby Dick’ at Youghal, Co Cork, in 1954 Picture: Irish Examiner Archive/Ref 765G
Actor Gregory Peck on the set of the film ‘Moby Dick’ at Youghal, Co Cork, in 1954 Picture: Irish Examiner Archive/Ref 765G

The town’s harbour area close to the bar was used for scenes in the blockbuster Hollywood film and Youghal’s 19th-century lighthouse also makes an appearance.

Adrian Hyde, chairman of Youghal 4 All, a voluntary body set up to promote the town and improve facilities there, said the statue will be iconic.

It is made of Kilkenny limestone and features Captain Ahab with harpoon at the ready on his whaling ship, The Pequod.

The organisation Youghal 4 All held a number of fundraisers to raise the €35,000 needed to pay for the sculpture.

“We got a lot of support from local people, local businesses, and Cork County Council,” said Mr Hyde.

He said American tourists were as familiar with Moby Dick as the English were with William Shakespeare.

“It will be a great marketing tool for us with the Americans in particular. We envisage that tourists will come and have their pictures taken beside it.

“It will be there as a marketing tool long after we’ve all gone,” said Mr Hyde.

Sandra McLellan, Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley, Paudie White, Gavin Pollard, sculptor Matthew Thompson, James O'Connor, Helen Heaphy and Jim Flanagan, of Youghal 4 All. Pic: Larry Cummins
Sandra McLellan, Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley, Paudie White, Gavin Pollard, sculptor Matthew Thompson, James O'Connor, Helen Heaphy and Jim Flanagan, of Youghal 4 All. Pic: Larry Cummins

He said the location of the statue was very important, being close to the tourist office and the quayside where the famous scene was shot of a large crowd seeing off The Pequod on her faithful voyage.

In the film, Ahab’s obsession with getting the whale leads to his death and that of all his crew, except his able seaman, Ishmael.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.