Saturday 19 August 2017

Mixed reaction to new Wogan statue - but the TOGs just love it

Rory Breslin’s statue of Terry Wogan beside the Shannon has encountered a mixed reception. Photo: Alan Place
Rory Breslin’s statue of Terry Wogan beside the Shannon has encountered a mixed reception. Photo: Alan Place
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Warm, genial and charming - words often used when discussing the life and work of legendary broadcaster, the late Terry Wogan.

However, so far, none of those adjectives have been used to describe the new bronze statue of Wogan, now sitting at Harvey's Quay on the River Shannon in Limerick.

Designed by Mayo-based artist Rory Breslin, it was unveiled over the weekend and has received a rather mixed reaction.

Some pointed out that the statue more closely resembles any of the following men: William H Macey, Glen Campbell, Nick Cave and Will Ferrell.

Others asked if the statue was the work of Emanuel Santos, the artist behind the much-criticised statue of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Aeroporto da Madeira.

However, the outgoing Mayor of Limerick, Kieran O'Hanlon, who yesterday finished his term in office, has defended the statue.

According to Mr O'Hanlon, the statue is a big hit with TOGs - aka 'Terry's Old Geezers and Gals'.

TOGs were devoted listeners to Wogan's BBC Radio 2 show.

In Wogan's own words, TOG-iness was "a state of mind recognised by many, as that feeling of being old before your time".

Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr O'Hanlon said he was delighted the statue had got the TOG seal of approval.

"I am a positive person. And I think it is a fantastic statue. I am delighted we have finally honoured this great Limerick man," he said.

"More importantly, we had Terry's TOGs at the unveiling and they loved it. They thought it was brilliant that we were honouring him."

Mr O'Hanlon said he had passed the statue several times since the unveiling and there was "always a queue of people waiting to get their photo with Terry".

He added that it is Limerick County Council's eventual ambition to hold an annual Terry Wogan festival.

Artist Rory Breslin was not available for comment last night but prior to the unveiling he said it had been an honour to work on the piece.

"People have stories to tell about Terry, many of them about his skills as a broadcaster, but also stories of a decent man, who guided and helped many. It is an honour for me to make a piece like this, of such an iconic figure," he said.

"As Limerick is his home place, I want to celebrate the man's skills but also to see the relaxed Terry, engaging and familiar to us all.

"That is the challenge in making a sculpture like this - to capture the nature of the person and to make sure it works in the context it will be located."

Irish Independent

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