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Statues and Stories in Dublin

Dublin city is full of statues, many with stories and nicknames associated with them, check out our list below of some of the most famous statues in Dublin

Molly Malone
Nicknames: ‘Tart with a cart’ ‘Dish with the Fish’ molly

On the corner of Grafton Street and Suffolk Street is the Molly Malone statue. Erected in 1988 Molly Malone has become one of the most famous statues in the city because of its central location and was commissioned in tribute to a traditional Irish song entitled ‘Cockles and Mussels’. Rumour has it she was a prostitute hence the nickname ‘Tart with a Cart’. Next time you are out on a night out in Dublin just mention Molly Malone and you will probably hear a great, drunken rendition of the song.

Lyrics of Cockles and Mussels:

In Dublin’s fair city,
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive alive oh!”

Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive alive oh”.

James Joyce Statue
Nickname: ‘The Prick with a Stick’

Located on North Earl Street, just off O’Connell Street, the James Joyce statue is in remembrance of the famous Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. His works include the short-story collection Dubliners, the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Finnegan’s Wake and his landmark work Ulysses.

James Larkin

James Larkin was an Irish trade union leader and socialist activist. He is remembered on Dublin’s main thoroughfare (on O’Connell Street) for his dedication to worker’s rights. In 1909 Jim Larkin founded the Irish Transport & General Worker’s Union catering for unskilled workers such as carters, dockers, labourers, and factory hands, who lived in conditions of great misery in the slums of Dublin, then probably among the worst in Europe.

Two Irish Ladies
Nickname: ‘The hags with the bags’
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Located near the Ha’penny Bridge, the statue is of two ladies having a rest after shopping for their families. They are meant to represent the average women of the city.

 The Spire of Dublin
Nicknames: ‘The Stiffy at the Liffey’, ‘The Stiletto in the Ghetto’.
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Located in the middle of O’Connell Street the first section was installed on 18 December 2002 after the design was chosen from a large number of submissions in an international competition. It is 121.2 metres (398 ft) in height and was erected on the old site of Nelson’s Pillar, a monument which had stood for over 150 years until it was blown up by former IRA members in 1966.

The Famine Memorial

Located on Customs House Quay and commissioned in 1997 to pay dedication to those Irish people forced to emigrate during the 19th century Irish Famine. This location is a particularly appropriate and historic as one of the first voyages of the Famine period was on the ‘Perseverance’which sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick’s Day 1846.

Phil Lynott
Nickname: ‘The Ace with the Base’.

Phil Lynott was an Irish musician who first came to prominence as a founding member, principal songwriter, and frontman of the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy. Sadly he died at the young age of 36. In 2005, the life-size bronze statue of Phil Lynott was unveiled on Harry Street, just off Grafton Street in Dublin. The ceremony was attended by former band members and by Lynott’s mother.

Oscar Wilde
Nickname: (Somewhat politically incorrect) ‘The Queer with the Leer’.

Irish playwright & Victorian dramatist Oscar Wilde became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s, probably best known for his play The Importance of Being Earnest and his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the circumstances of his imprisonment, followed by his early death. This colourful statue of Dubliner Oscar Wilde, reposing on a rock, is located in a corner of Merrion Square close to Ireland’s National Art Gallery & Government Buildings.