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‘Kinsale Giant' makes a big impression on town museum

May 1st, 2016 7:25 AM

By Southern Star Team

Pictured with the ‘Kinsale Giant' are, from left: Patricia Canniffe, Dermot Collins - owner of the museum, and Denis Murphy.

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By Kieran O’Mahony

AT eight feet one inches, Patrick Cotter-O’Brien from Kinsale, known as ‘The Giant of Kinsale’, certainly stood above most people in the town. 

The Kinsale native was the first of only 13 people in medical history to stand at that verified height. 

To honour this rare achievement, local engineering company Graepels Perforators & Weavers Ltd have donated a life-sized replica of him to Kinsale Museum.

The Picture-Perf image of Patrick is perforated in 2mm stainless steel and then powder coated in anodic brown architectural powder.

‘Ever since I visited the museum when I was a child, I was fascinated by the Giant of Kinsale and when I first visited the museum on a primary school tour, I was fascinated by the size of his chair, knife, fork, slippers and his boots,’ said Fred Graepel, managing director of Graepels Perforators & Weavers Ltd in Kinsale.

‘Now that we have a new product, Picture-Perf – which perforates pictures into metal – we thought it would be nice to make a donation to the museum as there was nothing to represent the physical size of Patrick Cotter O’Brien.’

Fred also wanted to expose their new capabilities in perforating pictures in metal and hope to do more of this around the town to represent people, events and times in history.

‘The beauty of Picture-Perf is that you can catch a moment in history which will last forever,’ added Fred.

Patrick Cotter O’Brien was born in 1760 and died in 1806 and it is believed he died from the effects of the disease, gigantism. During his lifetime he adopted O’Brien as his stage name as part of a sideshow circus. 

When Patrick died, no hearse could be found to accommodate his nine feet four inch casket encased in lead, so his remains were borne to the grave by relays of 14 men. 

In his will, Cotter left £2,000 to his mother and requested that his body be entombed within 12 feet of solid rock, to prevent exhumation for scientific or medical records.

However in 1972, his remains were examined and it was determined that, while alive, he stood approximately eight feet 1 inch tall, making him the tallest person ever at that time. 

That record would be eventually surpassed by the next ‘eight-footer’, John Rogan, who died almost a century later.

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