Sunday 15 September 2019

A farewell to arms: 'Haunting Soldier' statue given a solemn send-off

Last Post: Tomás Hodgins Byrne (12) from Firhouse talks about his two grand-uncles Pat Gibney and Tom McEvoy, who both fought in the trenches in WWI, at the leaving ceremony yesterday in St Stephen’s Green. PHOTO: Frank McGrath
Last Post: Tomás Hodgins Byrne (12) from Firhouse talks about his two grand-uncles Pat Gibney and Tom McEvoy, who both fought in the trenches in WWI, at the leaving ceremony yesterday in St Stephen’s Green. PHOTO: Frank McGrath
Conor McCrave

Conor McCrave

The 'Last Post' was played as the 'Haunting Soldier' sculpture received a sombre farewell when it left St Stephen's Green yesterday.

The sculpture, which depicts a WWI soldier returning from war, was erected in memory of all those brave soldiers who lost their lives in battle.

Up to 2,000 people attended the ceremony, among them members of the Defence Forces, local councillors and descendants of fallen soldiers. Bugler Eoin O'Connor from Swords sounded the 'Last Post' and 'Reveille' at the close of the event which featured poetry readings and music.

Last week, the controversial memorial sculpture was defaced in an act of vandalism when red paint was poured over it.

The Office of Public works spent hours scrubbing the paint from the artwork. Gardaí launched an investigation, although no arrests have yet been made.

It sparked widespread condemnation from Government ministers including Arts Minister Josepha Madigan, who described the attack as cowardly and Defence Minister Paul Kehoe who said he was "horrified" by it.

Standing six metres tall and made from scrap metal, including horseshoes and car jacks, it was created by Dorset-based artist and blacksmith Martin Galbavy. It was brought to Dublin by solicitor Sabina Purcell.

Irish Independent

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