Where are all our statuesque women?


SMALL PRINTS:“Without using Google, I think most Dubliners would be hard pressed to name half a dozen female statues.” That’s artist and activist Will St Leger’s reasoning for erecting a pink torso on an empty plinth at Dublin Castle during the week. The statue was knocked off the plinth an hour later by a security guard with a broom handle.

The topic of how few statues are female in Dublin city centre, and how no Liffey bridges are named after women, surfaced online over the past week or so, especially with the new bridge adjacent to O’Connell Bridge still nameless. “When we look around our city, there are lots of male statues. There are five alone in the College Green area. That was the reason for [erecting the pink torso] . We’ve got to get our minds switched on in a different way,” says St Leger.

Most of the female statues in the capital are nameless or of fictional and mythological figures: the Anna Livia monument, Molly Malone, the angels on the Daniel O’Connell statue, the famine victim statues on the north quays, and the “Hags with the Bags” beside the Ha’penny Bridge. The most prominent named female statues are those of Countess Markievicz on Tara Street, Catherine McAuley on Baggot Street, and Mayoress Margaret Ball outside St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.

“If we’re talking about new things, well, the Samuel Beckett Bridge is new, and the Phil Lynott statue is fairly new, although that was a private commission,” St Leger says. “Anyone can make an application to Dublin City Council to put a statue up, which is probably what I should have done. But I think you should never ask permission, and always ask forgiveness.”