Makeover for Molly before she relocates for tram works
MOLLY Malone has been hoisted off her plinth and taken away for a makeover.
The world-famous statue at the bottom of Grafton Street in Dublin had to be moved to make way for LUAS works, and will be given a new temporary home on nearby Suffolk Street for at least three years.
But before this, the statue, fondly known as 'the tart with the cart', is being taken to a workshop to mend some holes in the bronze cast and strengthen the welds in the sculpture.
Donncha O Dulaing, contract manager from the Heritage section of the LUAS Cross City project, said the move was "a very delicate operation".
Conservation specialists, bronze-casting specialists, stone masons and lifting and transport experts had all been brought on board to lift the one-ton statue.
Mr O Dulaing said that first, Molly had to be separated from her cart, and then the two pieces were hoisted separately in slings and steel cages and taken to a specialist workshop. The statue, by sculptor Jeanne Rynhart, was unveiled in 1988 and has become one of the most popular tourist sites in the city, and is just one of several which will be moved around to allow the LUAS works to go ahead.
The Lady Grattan Fountain at St Stephen's Green and the Steine Stone at the intersection of Pearse and College Streets to mark the Viking landing spot, have already been put in storage.
Mr O Dulaing said that within the next two weeks, the Thomas Moore statue at Trinity College, the oldest bronze statue in the city, would also be taken down.
In the longer term, the Fr Matthew statue in O'Connell Street would be taken down and would have to be moved to a new position. They were in discussions with the City Council about a possible new location, he added.
Yesterday, too, the statue of William Dargan in the forecourt of the National Gallery of Ireland on Merrion Square West was moved from its plinth to allow preparation works for the excavation of a new energy centre. The works are part of the Gallery's refurbishment of the historic Dargan and Milltown Wings, which date to 1864 and 1903 respectively.
The 2.58m-height bronze statue by Thomas Farrell RHA has not left the National Gallery since it was unveiled 150 years ago by the Lord Lieutenant George Howard, 7th Earl of Carlisle, on January 30, 1864. It will be restored to the site in two years' time.