The statue of James Connolly, Irish republican socialist leader, stands under the bridge at Beresford Place, in front of Dublin's Custom House. The creation of artist Eamonn O'Doherty, the statue was commissioned by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in 1996.
The bronze, life-sized statue depicts Connolly standing contemplatively, as if looking into the distance, perhaps at a better future for Ireland. Behind the statue, a curved wall holds an elegant bronze plough and stars motif.
It is also engraved with one of Connolly's quotes, which capture what he saw as inseparable goals -- freedom for Ireland and justice for workers:
The Cause of Labour is the Cause of Ireland / The Cause of Ireland is the Cause of Labour
Who was James Connolly?
James Connolly was a hugely important figure in the turbulent period of Irish history that led up to Irish Independence from Britain. He was executed in 1916 by a British firing squad for his role in the Easter Rising. He had been severely wounded while fighting on the rebel side at the General Post Office, and was barely alive --- by some accounts, already dead --- when British forces carried him by stretcher to Kilmainham Gaol. Regardless, they tied him to a chair, and shot him.
While the Easter Rising had been a spectacular military failure, it was a symbolic victory, as news of the cruel execution of Connolly and 13 of his fellow rebels aroused passionate emotions and widespread support for Irish nationalism among the populace at large.
Born in 1868 the Cowgate area of Edinburgh, Scotland to Irish parents, Connolly was a leading Marxist theorist. Active in the Scottish Socialist Federation, he moved to Dublin in 1896 to take over the leadership of the Dublin Socialist Club, which eventually became the Irish Socialist Republican Party. Connolly was also the organizer of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union in Belfast. He also established the Irish Citizen's Army to defend demonstrating workers from the police. He also became involved in the American labour movement.
Other Connolly Memorials
Other public buildings in Dublin bear Connolly's name, among them Connolly Rail Station in Dublin city centre and Connolly Hospital in the suburb of Blanchardstown. There are even some statues in America that have been dedicated to the man.
James Connolly statue. Image by William Murphy