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Galway to get new statue of O Conaire

One of the best-known faces in the west is making a comeback.

A replica statue of iconic Irish language writer, Padraic O Conaire is to be erected in Eyre Square, Galway.

The original statue of O Conaire had dominated the top of the Square since it was unveiled by Eamon de Valera on Easter Sunday, 1935. Created by sculptor Albert Power, it was installed in memory of the author of such standard works as 'M'asal Beag Dubh' and 'Deoraiocht', both of which featured on the Leaving Cert.

It was a top attraction for visitors to Galway, many of whom had their photograph taken alongside the stony-faced writer.

But in 1999 a group of young men from Northern Ireland broke off the head of the statue during a weekend of high jinks. They were subsequently charged with causing £50,000 damage to the statue.

Despite restoration work, it was decided the fragile condition of the statue required it to be removed to a safer location and it was initially transferred to the city council offices at College Road and later to Galway city museum at the Spanish Arch.

The council has decided that the original should remain in the city museum, but is currently carrying out a cost analysis of having a replica made and installed in the original location in Eyre Square.

Former Galway mayor Padraic Conneely said yesterday that it was about time that the statue was restored to its rightful place.

Irish Independent