THE CHILDREN OF LIR BY OISIN KELLY

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THE CHILDREN OF LIR PHOTOGRAPHED IN DECEMBER 2016

I like this work by Oisín Kelly but every time I try to photograph it there are workmen in the way and today was no exception.


The Children of Lir was commissioned for the Garden of Remembrance which is located in Parnell Square. The Garden was designed by former Dublin City Architect Daithi P. Hanly, who commissioned Oisín Kelly to make a statue to commemorate Irish freedom fighters. The massive sculpture was unveiled on Easter Monday 1966. The sculpture drew much criticism on the grounds that it was not appropriate that a subject from pagan legend such as the children of Lir should be installed in a public park in a Christian country. Back in the 1960s the sort of people who objected to Beatle haircuts object to every new public sculpture so it is not surprising that the ‘Children Of Lir’ attracted their displeasure.

A plaque next to the statue carries the words:

“In the darkness of despair we saw a vision.
We lit the light of hope and it was not
extinguished. In the desert of discouragement
we saw a vision. We planted the tree of
valour and it blossomed. In the winter of
bondage we saw a vision. We melted the
snow of lethargy and the river of resurrection
flowed from it. We sent our vision aswim
like a swan on the river. The vision became a
reality. Winter became summer. Bondage
became freedom and this we left to you as
our inheritance. O generations of freedom
remember us. The generations of the vision.”

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