A CAST bronze sculpture honouring former Republican lord mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney, has been unveiled in the Independence Museum in Kilmurry.
The work, by leading sculptor John Coll, was commissioned to mark the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of MacSwiney’s death, while on hunger strike in Brixton Prison in 1920.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath unveiled the sculpture as part of an afternoon event titled ‘The Role of the Arts in Commemoration’ which included talks and poetry. The bronze bust will remain as part of the permanent collection at the museum.Cathal MacSwiney Brugha – the grandson of Terence MacSwiney – attended the unveiling, along with Michael O’Flynn of O’Flynn Group, who sponsored the sculpture, and the sculptor John Coll.
Aidan O’Sullivan, vice-chair of Kilmurry Historical & Archaeological Association (KHAA) said they were grateful to the O’Flynn Group for their generosity in sponsoring this sculpture.
‘It is a fitting memorial to Terence MacSwiney marking the centenary of his death on hunger strike,’ said Aidan.
As one of Ireland’s leading figurative sculptors, John Coll said he had sought to express the two sides of MacSwiney’s personality in his sculpture.
‘The strength and determination of the idealist as well as the humanity and sensitivity of the man,’ said John.
His bust of MacSwiney is an intriguing complement to the famous marble head sculpted by Albert Power, which is now in the Cork Public Museum.
The Independence Museum Kilmurry’s collection incorporates material from the Terence MacSwiney Memorial museum, which was opened in 1965 by Maire MacSwiney Brugha, the only child of Terence MacSwiney. The museum continues to have a close relationship with the MacSwiney Brugha family and holds an important collection of MacSwiney artefacts, including a rare copy of his death mask.