Statues part of plan to bring Dublin’s hidden history to life

Statues and sculptures are to play a role in bringing Dublin’s hidden stories to life as part of a new tourist experience.

By Niall Murray, Education Correspondent


The Molly Malone statue outside the St Andrew’s Church tourist office in Dublin. Picture:


The State tourism body, Fáilte Ireland, hopes to build the project around the capital’s public art. With plans to make the most of social media opportunities around the project, part of the aim is to expand the promotion of Dublin’s outdoor attractions.

While the locations to be used have not yet been identified, those competing to operate the programme have been asked to work at up to eight locations.

However, they need not be entirely focused on the capital’s better-known artworks like the Spire on O’Connell Street, or the Molly Malone or Oscar Wilde statutes already popular with international visitors.

Technology is expected to be a feature of the project, particularly the idea that tourists might share images and video on social media, in turn building awareness of Dublin as a destination.

A new brand — Dublin. A Breath of Fresh Air — was launched in late 2015 to push the idea of being able to jump between unique and often unexpected experiences in the city’s natural outdoors.

The idea is also to create what can be promoted as a ‘must do’ experience, targeted at people in the ‘culturally curious’ and social energisers’ categories, who are the main market for Dublin tourism.



Such experiential tourism is for the growing appetite for avoiding well-worn paths in destinations, in favour of more enriching activities that create a lasting memory.

Meanwhile, following huge public interest in last year’s commemorative events around the centenary of the 1916 Rising, Dublin’s four councils are appointing historians-in-residence.

They will be expected to bring history in each area to life through events like public talks, workshops, blogs and social media activity, and historic walks of local areas.

Making historical documents accessible and exciting will be faciliated by use and promotion of items held in Dublin City Library and Archive, which is also to separately appoint its own historian-in-residence.

While the first political breakthroughs of Sinn Féin in Westminster by-elections took place in Roscommon, Longford and Clare, this year will also see centenaries of the return to Dublin of hundreds of released Easter Rising prisoners, the holding of the Irish Convention to try and find a solution satisfactory to nationalists and unionists, and the first use of hunger strike protest by republican prisoners.

The death of Irish Volunteers leader Thomas Ashe after being force fed during a hunger strike in Mountjoy took place in September 1917, followed by a highly-orchestrated funeral that demonstrated growing republican public sympathies. His death is to be the subject of a series of commemorative events, many of them in his native Co Kerry.

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