Kilbaha sculptor Seamus Connolly putting the finishing touches to his bust of Anthony Axel Foley which was unveiled on Friday evening at Shannon RFC’s clubhouse in the shadows of Thomond Park.
“It was an honour to be asked to commemorate Anthony. I was approached by Shannon Rugby Club. They wanted to put up a bust and of course I was very excited to do it. Also, there was a lot of pressure because Anthony was a hero for Shannon, Munster and Ireland. I tried to capture the essence of him,” Seamus Connolly told The Clare Champion.
“You pick your pose and go ahead with it. After that you hope that everyone is going to be happy. The commissioners have seen the statue, at the clay stage and they were delighted with it. There is also a copy of it going to St Munchin’s College in Limerick, donated by Shannon RFC,” he added.
Seamus Connolly's bronze sheep, two of her favourite pieces in her beautiful home.
Limerick village celebrates its link with Croke Park
IT'S like we've won the county final, said Ballylanders man Frank Dineen of the buzz and excitement that enveloped his native parish at the weekend.
Locals and visitors to the village – they came from all over Limerick and beyond – were spoilt for choice with the sunshine and "craic agus ceol" that formed part of the annual Pattern Festival.
Boasting record crowds, the 10-day festival had many high points, none more so than the commemoration ceremony in honour of the late Frank B Dineen, one of the key figures behind the GAA's acquisition of Croke Park.
He is best remembered as the man who bought a site on Jones Road in 1908 before donating it to the GAA in 1913. The event began on Friday with The birth of Croke Park in the Ballyhoura Mountains, hosted by legenday GAA broadcaster Michel Muircheartaigh, and included a series of lectures before the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in memory of Mr Dineen on Saturday by GAA president Christy Cooney.
"Frank Dineen is a significant figure in the early part of the GAA, an assertion supported by the fact that he remains, to this day, the only man to hold the roles of both secretary and president," said Mr Cooney.
"That the GAA can today call Croke Park home is largely down to a man who also helped found the Ballylanders club. It is right and fitting that an event such as this should be organised to highlight his contribution to the Association as a whole," he added.
The local GAA club and festival organising committee commissioned renowned Limerick sculptor Seamus Connolly to produce the plaque. Mr Connolly is responsible for the bronze sculpture of Olympic hammerthrower Paddy Ryan in Pallasgreen, the statue of Jackie Power in Annacotty, the life-size of actor Richard Harris in Kilkee and the life-size statue of John B Keane in Listowel.
The commemorative plaque was unveiled at Mr Dineen's home, which is now McDermott's pub in Ballylanders. "We are delighted with the plaque. Seamus Connolly must be commended," said Frank Dineen, the great-grandnephew of the late Mr Dineen.
"Normally a plaque like that would take a year, but he did it in six months. We told him about Frank and his life and he included as many aspects as he could in the design. "But as proud as Frank as we are, this festival was about everybody. We are delighted with the whole event. It created a great buzz. Everyone in the community made a huge effort to get behind it," he continued.
As well as the visit by Mr Cooney and a talk by Mr Muircheartaigh, there were also two sell-out events by Brendan Grace and well-known television presenter Pamela Flood. Ms Flood hosted a World of Women event which went down a treat with the ladies.
"Pamela Flood and Brendan Grace were both a sellout," said local woman Mairead O'Neill, who is involved in organising the festival.
"The numbers were definitely up this year. The highlight would have to have been the unveiling of the plaque. The speeches were so emotional and from the heart. The speech by Frank B Dineen's great-grandnephew, Frank, was simply lovely," she said.
Those who didn't travel to the big game in Croke Park on Sunday were treated to family fun and a sports day in Castle Park soccer field.
The youth of the locality were also catered for on Sunday night with an alcohol-free night out hosted by H2O disco.
Ballylanders Pattern Festival is one of the country's oldest and best festivals, dating from the late 17th century. Traditionally, it celebrated the saving of the crops just before the local children returned to start the new school year.
Statue of hurling legend Mackey unveiled
A LIFE-sized bronze statue of legendary hurler Mick Mackey has been unveiled in Castleconnell, Co Limerick.
Mackey, considered one of the all-time greats, was born in the town in 1912 and went on to become known for his strength and skill on the pitch as a member of Ahane GAA club.
During his playing career he won three All-Irelands and five Munster crowns. He was also credited as the inventor of the solo-run in hurling.
The statue (right) was unveiled yesterday by GAA President Liam O'Neill.
Created by Clare native Seamus Connolly, it has been erected on Castle Street, close to where Mackey was born and raised.
Mary McAleese unveils Dermot Earley statue
Monday 29 August 2011
Life-sized statue of Dermot Earley unveiled in Co Roscommon
President Mary McAleese has unveiled a life-size bronze statue of the former Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lt Gen Dermot Earley, in his home village of Gortaganny, Co Roscommon.
Mr Earley passed away in June 2010.
The statue, by sculptor Séamus Connolly, depicts Mr Earley from his time as a Roscommon Gaelic footballer.
About 1,500 people attended the unveiling ceremony and among them were Mr Earley’s wife Mary and his mother Kitty.
Mrs Earley said it was a proud but sad day for the family.
President McAleese said Dermot Earley was one of the finest men ever born on this island.
She described him as 'a devoted family man, a renowned sporting hero, an outstanding soldier, an inspiring leader, a man gifted with a unique West of Ireland charm and a tremendous ambassador for Ireland wherever he went in the world.'
The statue cost about €40,000 but the local development company, which fundraised to erect it, said it had no difficulty raising the money.
The Dublin Writers Museum today, Wednesday 14th December 2011, celebrated its 20th anniversary with the unveiling of two bronze portrait busts of the writers John B. Keane and Frank McCourt.
The busts were presented as gifts to the Dublin Writers Museum by the sculptor, Séamus Connolly in conjunction with the Doorway Gallery.
The busts were officially unveiled by Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. at a reception held in the Museum’s Gallery of Writers.
Speaking at the event, Robert Nicholson, curator of the Dublin Writers Museum since its inception in 1991 said:
“By far the most interesting, exciting and unusual contributions to the Dublin Writers Museum collection have been due to the generosity of donors. It is therefore with great pleasure that we accept these gifts today from Séamus Connolly. When this museum was opened 20 years ago, John B. Keane’s career was still flourishing, and Frank McCourt had yet to become a household name. Now sadly both have passed on. We welcome this opportunity to acknowledge, through the presence of these portraits, their great contribution to Irish literature.”
The busts will be on permanent display in the Dublin Writer’s Museum ‘Gallery of Writers’.
A Statue of John B. is Unveiled in Listowel
Billy Keane at John B. Keane Statue Unveiling in Listowel, County Kerry
By Laura Jean ZitoAugust / September 2007
On Saturday, this past June 2nd, the day of the unveiling in Listowel’s Small Square of John B. Keane’s statue created by father-and-son sculptor team Seamus and James Connolly, famous for their 2006 Kilkee sculpture of Richard Harris, the entire town and half of Dublin’s literary elite stood in tribute, listening to the words of, among others, Listowel’s mayor Anthony Curtin, who proclaimed proudly, ”He put us on the map.”
Niall Toibin, famous comedian and John B.’s favorite Bull McCabe, gave an emotional oration about his dear friend: ”When all is said and done, the best debt of gratitude you can give an actor is a job, and boy did he give us jobs! Several generations of thespians owe an enormous debt of gratitude to John B.”
Jimmy Deenihan, a politician, spoke, then Joanna, John B.’s daughter, with typical Keane charm, pronounced, “Here John B. has a bird’s eye view of his town, thanks to the idiosyncrasies of our one-way system,” referring to the quaint and often inconvenient way one must drive through the whole town to backtrack one’s path, surely an encouragement to stroll by foot for the human touch John B. so loved instead.
Joanna Keane O’Flynn is Chairperson this year of Listowel Writers Week, the festival John B. helped to initiate 37 years ago with Tim Daneher, Bryan McMahon, Nora Relihan, and others. His close friend Father Kieran O’Shea launched the Mercier Press collection of John B.’s poems, ”The Street,” at Listowel Writers Week in 2003, on the ﬁrst anniversary of John B’s death.
In spirit stood his dear cohort, Bryan McMahon, co-organizer of the festival, who had passed away the year previous. He was locally known as the “Master,” and wrote an award-winning novel, The Master, but in reality he shared that unofficial title with John B. In their plays, Bryan McMahon captured the voice and spirit of the intelligentsia, while John B. captured the colorful language of the local farmers.
John B.’s son Billy now runs the famous literary pub with John B’s wife Mary, carrying on its splendid atmosphere of true outpouring of heartfelt creative effort. Two other sons, Conor and John, and cousins and grandchildren and other family members crowded around the statue of John B, sauntering into the square with his hand extended in an outward gesture of greeting, like you might see him coming down the street from a distance. Everyone, especially the children, seemed to want to reach up and touch the spirit of the man inside the bronze.
Remembering Frank: Bust of Mccourt unveiled
Fri, May 14, 2010, 01:00
THE WIDOW and brothers of Pulitzer Prize winner Frank McCourt were in Limerick last night to unveil a bust in memory of the author of Angela’s Ashes.
His widow Ellen McCourt said, “I got diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks after Frank died so it has been a rather bumpy road for the last eight months or so. It’s the first time I have been here without Frank so it’s a bitter-sweet occasion. It’s nice to be here with the three brothers. My suspicion is it will be one of the last times if not the last time that we’re all together in Limerick on what I consider a happy occasion.”
As to how her late husband would feel about his bust being unveiled in front of Leamy Art School on Harstonge Street, where he was educated, she said: “I think he would be very amused by it. But, on the other hand, since Frank’s profession became teaching I think he would be quite touched.”
Mrs McCourt paid tribute to Limerick artist Una Heaton who organised the event.
Malachy McCourt (78) said his brother Frank “would think it somewhat absurd that just because he wrote a book that all this is happening”, but he would also have also been very proud and have seen the event as ”Limerick’s way of saying thank you”. “From an economic point of view, Angela’s Asheshas done a lot for the city. Frank didn’t anticipate that but he’s glad it did.”
Alfie McCourt (69) described last night’s reception as “warm and welcoming”: “We had two memorials and a number of tributes but this is a really, really meaningful tribute today. This is our hometown.”
During their visit, the McCourt family plan to spread some of Frank McCourt’s ashes at Carrigogunnell Castle, which overlooks the Shannon.
President of the University of Limerick Don Barry was at the ceremony and revealed it is to create a Frank McCourt chair in creative writing.