Campaign launches to erect statue honoring Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne

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A new initiative seeks to honor Maud Gonne, a renowned figure in Irish history, with a public statue in Dublin. This campaign aims to recognize Gonne’s significant contributions to Irish culture and society through a prominent public monument.

The campaign, led by writer and poet Orna Ross, who founded the Alliance of Independent Authors, has received backing from a committed group of creative and academic individuals. Gonne’s descendants also support this uncommittee in ensuring her legacy receives proper acknowledgment.

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While Maud Gonne is often remembered as the muse of WB Yeats, she was also a fervent advocate for Irish independence, women’s rights, and the rights of prisoners and workers.

According to Orna Ross, erecting a statue of Maud Gonne in Dublin will honor her enduring legacy. This campaign highlights the essential roles women have played in shaping the city’s history and invites critical examination of how the past is remembered, echoing the conversation initiated by movements like Waking the Feminists during Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries.

The initiative’s goals

The campaign’s primary objective is to build interest and awareness, showing public support for the statue. This involves fundraising to create a website and social media platforms dedicated to the cause. Accounts named @MaudGonneMacBride have been established, where Maud discusses Irish and global political issues, adding an educational layer to the campaign.

Artist Emma Stroude has envisioned a potential statue, depicting Gonne in her iconic black attire with her dog Dagda. Orna Ross detailed the vision to have the completed statue moving down the pedestrian aisle of O’Connell towards the south side, near where Gonne lived. The Kickstarter campaign, set to launch on July 22, invites public donations and offers rewards such as commissioned artworks and a Kickstarter-exclusive edition of Ross’s novel, “A Life Before.”

Overcoming historical invisibility

Currently, Dublin’s public statues mainly celebrate men, with just five honoring significant women in history. In the city center, only 27 out of 936 streets carry the names of women, mostly saints or English royalty.

The city’s main train stations—Heuston, Connolly, and Pearse—are all named after men, and no park in Dublin bears a woman’s name. This imbalance highlights the campaign’s role in advocating for greater recognition of women’s achievements in public spaces.

Maud Gonne’s influence on Irish culture extends internationally, including through her son Seán MacBride, a co-founder of Amnesty International. This statue campaign seeks to honor Maud’s legacy, advocate for recognizing women’s contributions in public spaces, and ignite discussions about overlooked historical narratives and memory preservation.

Phased project plan

The campaign is divided into several phases. Phase one involves planning and starting the Kickstarter campaign, commissioning artists, and raising funds from various sources, including cultural grants and local business sponsorships.

Phase two focuses on organizing the project, choosing the sculpture’s location, obtaining permission from Dublin City Council, and commissioning the sculpture. The final phase includes installing the statue, arranging the unveiling ceremony, and ensuring the statue’s maintenance and educational outreach.

Support for the campaign is essential at each stage. Volunteers are encouraged to help with tasks such as documenting the progress, securing funding, and organizing educational programs related to the statue. Ross emphasizes that all contributions, regardless of size, are significant. Thorough documentation of the process will be beneficial for future projects by other groups.

To foster public engagement, the campaign incorporates initiatives like informational plaques and educational programs in collaboration with schools and cultural organizations. These efforts aim to educate the public about Maud Gonne’s life and legacy, ensuring her impact continues to inspire future generations.

As the campaign advances, it becomes apparent that the statue of Maud Gonne will not only honor her memory but also symbolize the ongoing struggle for equality and the acknowledgment of women’s contributions to Irish society. The public is invited to actively support and participate in this meaningful project, celebrating a revolutionary woman whose influence and legacy remain immensely significant.

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