Monday 23 September 2019

'We're greatly angered that someone would take this' - community 'disgusted' after life-size statue stolen from WB Yeats' burial site

Garda in Sligo have appealed for information on the missing sculpture. Photo: Garda Siochana Sligo/Leitrim
Garda in Sligo have appealed for information on the missing sculpture. Photo: Garda Siochana Sligo/Leitrim
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

Members of a Co Sligo community have expressed "sadness and anger" after a statue was stolen from the car park at WB Yeats' final resting place.

The bronze sculpture is missing from the main car park at Drumcliffe in Co Sligo. It is understood that the statue was reported missing on Sunday.

It forms part of a larger piece displaying the poem "He wishes for the cloths of heaven" by the renowned Irish poet.

Yeats famously left the instructions that the grave consist of "no marble, no conventional phrase".

Located near the Benbulben mountains, the graveyard at Drumcliffe church also contains a high cross and nearby is a 6th Century Columbian monastery.

Capt Isaac Hanna, rector of St Columba's Church in Drumcliffe, appealed for the "safe return" of the statue, which was created by sculptor Jackie McKenna.

"We were greatly saddened and angered that someone had taken this unique object, which for many is one of the focal points of their visit to our churchyard and church.

"It was ironic that we first learned of the news following our annual community carol service, of which the theme was 'joy to the world'.

"We would appeal to anyone in the community that would have any information regarding the theft to pass it on to local gardai in Grange."

Local councillor Maria Casserly also encouraged members of the public to provide any information on the whereabouts of the "beautiful life-size piece".

"I'm disgusted, why someone would take something like that is beyond me," Ms Casserly told

"It takes a lot of effort to get something like that out there, and the Drumcliffe Development Association have done some great work with it over the last few years.

"One or two people have now destroyed that for everybody else".

Gardai are appealing to anyone with information regarding the piece to contact Grange Gardai or Sligo Gardai on 0719157000 or the Garda confidential line 1800666111.

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