A unique memorial is to be erected in a North Cork town to commemorate a man who once held the world record for being buried alive.
The memorial has been designed in such a way that it will be embedded in a footpath, making it appear he’s emerging up from the coffin in which he spent 61 days.
Michael ‘Mick’ Meaney became an international celebrity after he was buried alive in a coffin in Kilburn, London, on February 21, 1968.
A famous picture taken of him as he peered out of the coffin before clambering out of it is to replicated and placed in the ground in Mitchelstown, where Meaney lived for most of his adult life.
In later life he worked for Cork County Council, and the local authority is helping to fund the project which is expected to cost nearly €5,000.
Having consulted with the late man’s relatives, it has been decided to locate it in the southeastern corner of New Market Square, in the centre of the town.
The memorial will provide details of Meaney’s feat and will bear the inscription: “Mick Meaney — A man who dared to dream when dreams were not allowed”.
When Meaney went down in the coffin, which was then covered in soil, Cobh-born tenor, actor and boxer, Jack Doyle, was on hand to sing some songs.
At the time, the British House of Commons debated his exploits. Some MPs were so concerned for his safety they maintained he should be immediately dug up.
When Meaney finally emerged from the coffin on April 22, 1968, a host of celebrities queued up to have their picture taken with him, including actress Diana Dors, considered Britain’s answer to Marilyn Monroe.
The world’s media was also on hand to witness the record, as Meaney had beaten the 45-day record set by American Digger O’Dell.
Texan country singer Bill White said he believed he could outdo Meaney and was buried in the US on the same day as the Irish man.
However, White emerged after 55 days. Although Mick was told he was the victor, he chose to remain buried for a further six days.
Meaney, who was acknowledged as ‘tough as nails’ always said he knew he could do it because he’d been buried alive for some hours a few years previously in a construction accident.
He could have achieved international fame as a professional boxer, only for losing the tips of some of his fingers in another accident.
He was congratulated on the feat by his idol, US heavyweight legend Joe Louis.
Cork County Council engineers say the designs for the memorial have been fully completed and they plan to install it in early May.