Three bears on march to child-friendly home
If you go down to the 3Arena today, you're in for a big surprise... the city's most famous three bears are finally on the move.
For 20 years, the 8ft statues were seen striding purposefully outside the venue at the East Link Bridge. Now the bronze trio are marching on to a new home in the city centre.
The new location of the statues, which were created by Irish sculptor Patrick O'Reilly and donated by Harry Crosbie and family to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, will be decided by minister Katherine Zappone who wants the bears to be more accessible to children.
O'Reilly is the acclaimed artist behind the Queen Maeve statue, which holds a bull's head aloft on Burlington Road, and the fantastical coloured figures the Boundary Kings on Thomas Street. The bears also have a brother at the beach in Greystones, Co Wicklow, and another at Adare Manor, which is the largest figurative bronze ever made in Ireland.
O'Reilly is said to want to evoke our childhood days, when one of our first memories is that of a teddy bear, which personifies companionship, trust and innocence.
He has described how: "The bear allows viewers to revisit the essence of their past, leading to flashbacks and recollections of preceding times. That significant memory involves events long past with happy and joyous nostalgia but with an awareness that life moves on". O'Reilly's marching trio are said to be worth in excess of €500,000.
Our picture shows Jamie Ardagh (six) helping to clean the bears before they go out to play with the other children. The new location will be announced in the coming weeks.