Thursday 8 December 2016

This arm made an Irish boxer into a national hero

Colin Gleeson

Published 19/05/2010 | 05:00

THE mummified right arm of Irish fighter Dan Donnelly is one of a host of exhibits at the 'Fighting Irishmen' exhibition, which opened yesterday.

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The display of boxing artefacts and photographs -- highlighted by an iconic Muhammad Ali autographed glove and trunks from the 1972 Al Blue Lewis Fight in Dublin -- will run at Croke Park until May 31.

The exhibition tells the story of Irish emigration and assimilation to eventual success and worldwide acclaim through boxing.

One of the top attractions is Donnelly's mummified arm, reputed to be one of the longest in boxing history.

After his death in 1820, the fighter's body was taken by grave robbers to be sold on the black market.

His corpse was traced to a surgeon in Dublin, who agreed to return the body if he could amputate the right arm and keep it -- for it had defeated English champion George Cooper in 1815 and made Donnelly a hero.

The arm appeared in a travelling circus in Ireland and a pub, before crossing the Atlantic.

Objects on display include pieces from sporting greats Barry McGuigan, Bernard Dunne, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Freddie Gilroy, Bobby Cassidy, Gerry Cooney, Wayne McCullough, Billy Conn and John Duddy.

The exhibition includes the Olympic medals won by Michael Carruth, Kenny Egan and Wayne McCullough, as well as the European and world medals won by Katie Taylor.

Irish Independent

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