For nearly 1,200 years there has been a continuous sculpture at the junction of College St. with Pearse St. and D’Olier St. The following is a rough description:
~ 837 – 1720 = The Long Stone, otherwise known as The Steyn(e) or Stein.
~ 1862 – 1959 = The Crampton Memorial.
~ 1986 – Present = The Long Stone replica.
The old Viking ‘Long Stone’ was first constructed by Norsemen in 837 AD to symbolise their possession of the surrounding lands. The historic stone itself “escaped all the vicissitudes of time, the invasions of the Danes, the wars of Celts and Saxons, the struggles of Royalists and Republicans” (Ireland and the Celtic church, (1907) p. 281) but was eventually stolen in 1794. Does anyone know where it is now?
The Crampton Memorial, known colloquially as ‘The Water Baby’ and ‘The Cauliflower’, took its place and was situated at the junction of College St. with Pearse St. and D’Olier St. for nearly one hundred years. It was designed by John Kirk (son of Thomas Kirk (1781 – 1845)) and is named after Sir Philip Crampton (1777–1858), an eminent surgeon and anatomist. The memorial, which was made up of a stone base with three drinking fountains, slowly fell apart and was finally removed in 1959.
In 1986, a replica of the Long Stone (designed by Cliodhna Cussen, mother of Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Rossa, Rónán, and Colm of Kíla) was erected. The 11 foot granite sculpture has the head of Ivar, the first Norse king of Dublin and who is believed to have erected the original Stein, on the base of one side and a head of a nun, from All Hallows monastery, which is thought to have been situated on the site in the Middle Ages, on the other.