Insider Tips

Talking Statues of Dublin

By Visit Dublin

26th March 2019

Have you ever wondered what Dublin's most famous statues might be able to tell you if they could talk? Wonder no more, as 11 of the capital's most familiar icons are waiting to have a chat — just bring along your phone when you pay them a visit, to hear their dramatic stories brought to life.

Using drama, humour and location technology, Talking Statues breathes new life into the sculptured landmarks that surround us. Some approaches are dramatic, others comic and others flights of pure fantasy — all aim to persuade us to look at the statues with new eyes. All you'll need to do is pass one of the designated Talking Statues and with a simple swipe of your smartphone on a nearby plaque, you'll get a call back from your favourite writers. Each has their own tale to recount, and together, they tell Dublin's magnificent story.

1: James Joyce

The voice of this statue of Ireland's most famous literary icon, James Joyce, has been written by Roddy Doyle and voiced by Gabriel Byrne. Born in Rathgar in 1882, Joyce spent much of his adult life living abroad, but always placed Dublin at the centre of his writing — so it only makes sense his statue, designed by Marjorie Fitzgibbon, remains in the heart of Dublin’s city centre. Find his statue to hear his story.

Statue of James Joyce

2: George Bernard Shaw

This striking statue of writer George Bernard Shaw was sculpted by his great friend Paolo Troubetzkoy, and the story it tells was written by writer Arthur Mathews and spoken by actor Stephen Brennan. Shaw’s famous words about the importance of the arts feature on the wall behind — appropriate considering the proximity of the National Art gallery. Find his location in Dublin to hear what he has to say.

Statue of George Bernard Shaw at foot of stairs in National Gallery

3: Meeting Place

Meeting Place was sculpted by Jackie McKenna and unveiled in 1988, the year of Dublin’s Millennium celebrations. Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Hags with the Bags’, Meeting Place’s story was written by Rachel Kilfeather and spoken by actor Brenda Fricker. Find this statue's location to hear its story.

Statues of two women sitting on a bench chatting with their shopping bags at their feet

4: James Connolly

The Scottish-born socialist and Republican James Connolly is revered for his commitment to raising the standard of living for those in impoverished conditions. His statue is located beneath the imposing Loopline Bridge in Dublin, while its story is written and spoken by Brendan O’Carroll. Find his location in Dublin to hear what he has to say.

Statue of James Connolly looking stern

5: Oscar Wilde

Internationally renowned and infinitely quotable, the great writer Oscar Wilde has always been celebrated for his devil-may-care attitude — captured so colourfully in Danny Osborne’s much-loved statue. Oscar reclines on a quartz boulder (sourced in the Wicklow Mountains), while his words are written by author John Banville and spoken by Andrew Scott. Find his location in Dublin to hear what he has to say.​

Statue of Oscar Wilde lounging in a smoking jacket

6: Theobald Wolfe Tone

The great revolutionary, immortalised in rousing song, may have been a diminutive man in height — but you would never know that from Edward Delaney’s magnificent 1964 statue. Wolfe Tone's story is written by author Patrick McCabe and spoken by actor Brendan Gleeson. Find his statue to hear his story.

Statue of Wolfe Tone in front of a stone wall wearing a long overcoat with upturned collar

7: Jim Larkin

One of Ireland’s greatest champions of workers’ rights, Jim Larkin was present during the 1913 Strike and Lockout. Oisin Kelly’s 1980 statue sees the great trade unionist in typically combative mode. His words are written by Enda Walsh and spoken by Stephen Rea. Find his location in Dublin to hear what he has to say.​

Statue of Jim Larkin with arms upraised and shouting out a speech with Irish flag in background

8: Cúchulainn

The General Post Office (GPO) building (which housed the rebels during the 1916 Easter Rising) is a suitably grand public space in which to showcase Oliver Sheppard’s 1935 statue, The Death of Cúchulainn. His story is written by Eoin Colfer and spoken by Peter Coonan. Find the GPO in Dublin.

Close up view of the head and bare shoulders of the statue of Cuchullain as he faces death

9: ​George Salmon

George Salmon was a professor of mathematics for many years, as well as a Church of Ireland rector. As provost of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland’s oldest university, he presided over its tri-centenary celebrations in 1892. His statue's words are written and spoken by Joe Duffy. Find his statue to hear his story.

A distinguished looking statue of George Salmon on a chair in the grounds of Trinity College

10: Angel Fidelity

The graceful (yet mysterious) winged figure of Fidelity sits in the middle part of the famous Daniel O'Connell monument (designed by John Henry Foley), along with Patriotism, Courage and Eloquence. Her piece is written by Paula Meehan and spoken by actor Ruth Negga. Find the Daniel O'Connell - Fidelity - O'Connell Monument​ to hear its story.

The graceful winged figure of Fidelity sits looking down at a Great Irish Wolfhound

11. Molly Malone

Molly Malone is a popular old Dublin folk song, telling the story of a young fishmonger who trades on the streets of Dublin and sadly dies of fever. While the figure of Molly is fictional, the song contains elements of true historical significance and her statue has become the most photographed in Dublin today. Find Molly in Dublin to discover her tale.

Molly Malone statue

To hear the audio stories of the statues, just bring your smartphone and pay them a visit from October 2017 — you can find their various locations around the city using our map tool. Find out more about Talking Statues.