O commemorate me where there is water,
Canal water preferably
Greeny at the heart of summer. Brother…
O commemorate me with no hero courageous
Tomb – just a canal bank seat for the passer-by.
It may come as a surprise, it certainly did to me, that Patrick Kavanagh is commemorated by not one but two seats along Dublin’s Grand Canal.
The one that is known to most Dubliners and tourists is the bench which has a life sized statue of Kavanagh sitting on one side. This was made by the sculpture John Coll and was unveiled in June 1991 by Mary Robinson. It is situated on the north bank of the Grand Canal on Mespil Road.
Photo credit - Andrew B47 (FlickR)
The second statue predates the first by 23 years and was unveiled only a few month’s after the poet’s death. It is a simple ‘wood and granite’ seat that was designed by the artist Michael Farrell (1940 – 2000). A fantastic account of the fundraising and committee work that went into commissioning the seat can be read here. This seat is located on the South Bank at the Lock Gates close to Baggot Street Bridge.
The first and original 1968 bench (The Irish Times 2.2.68)
Every St. Patrick’s day, old friends and fans of Kavanagh gather at this bench to remember his life and read extracts of his work.
So, there you go. There are in fact two seats dedicated to the memory of Patrick Kavanagh on the Grand Canal. Let’s do our best not to forget the first. (Many thanks to the beautiful Kavanagh Seat website that first brought my attention to the above)
Now for a bonus question. Besides the canal seat, can you tell me where the only other statue to Patrick Kavanagh is in the world? Give up? Disneyland, Florida! I know, hard to believe but it’s true. There’s a statue to him, based on the Grand Canal seat, outside the Irish pub and restaurant, Raglan Road, at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida.
Disneyland, Florida. "Step inside Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant and you'll feel you've been transported to the Emerald Isles"
The Kavanagh statue outside Raglan Road restaurant, Disneyland. Photo credit - Eric J. Lubbers (FlickR)
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