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Showing posts from May, 2018

Statues of Empire

Last Sunday I attended a symposium at Dublin Castle about the life and works of John Henry Foley, the sculptor responsible for the omnificent statue of Daniel O’Connell, as well as many other salutes to British military accomplishments. I learned a lot. Including that the last vestiges of this Empire have not been totally eradicated from these shores, and no, I don’t mean Northern Ireland.
Unfortunately the after-taste of the day was not one of Foley’s achievements but rather that of the Empire, and in particular Ireland’s, and I quote, “pettiness” at their destruction and removal.

The IRA blew up Foley’s equine statue of Gough in Pheonix Park in 1957. Sighs of dismay and tuts of disapproval at republican plebeianism emanated around the room, as too did a proud announcement that Gough, the man decapitated, was in fact... dramatic pause… related to an attendee's family’s inherited estate! Guffaws of joy erupted and I wondered which century I had been transported back into. I was re…

Preparations and Presentations

My journey of discovery into Irish railway architecture started in Dundalk. From my initial alighting at the station to wanderings around the residential streets and former GNRI engineering works, I was captivated by the clear architectural communality one railway company had managed to create.

Writing my master’s dissertation about this architecture, I was then honoured to receive the Association for Industrial Archaeology’s Dissertation award in 2017. Here’s a geeky picture taken after the industrial archaeologists’ conference dinner – home by 11pm, what a party!

Becky Haslam (L) Dr Marilyn Palmer (C) Siobhan Osgood (R)
Heartened by this I was determined to take my research further. I feel like there is so much of railway architecture in Ireland that is undiscovered, forgotten or undocumented – and I’m talking at a national level here, local enthusiasts have really made up for the shocking shortfall in national appreciation for this area of Irish industrial history. This actually ma…