1951 – Guardian Grows Weary With Events in Dun Laoghaire

Christ the King inside

Nenagh Guardian, 27 January 1951

The Editor of the Guardian spots an opportunity to have a go at Dun Laoghaire Borough Corporation, and makes sure he doesn’t let that opportunity go to waste. The story of the Christ the King statue in Dun Laoghaire is one that twists and turns like the coastline on which it is situated, and it begins in 1932, when Andrew O’Connor’s sculpture was chosen by the Council. A few years of fundraising followed and casting of the sculpture finally began in Paris, just in time for the outbreak of World War II. It was then hidden for safe-keeping, and finally returned to Ireland in 1951. Here, the Nenagh Guardian takes up the story, pouring scorn on the good burghers of Dun Laoghaire for their tardiness in finally erecting it. The Dun Laoghaire of another day, he recollects, suffered no such delays when erecting a monument to Queen Victoria for her visit in April, 1900 (above). This criticism of the town is somewhat harsh, as it would later transpire that one of the blocks to its erection was placed, not by the Council, but by the clergy of the day, and Archbishop John Charles McQuaid let the committee know in no uncertain terms that the Canon Law jury was out on the Christ the King sculpture;

“It does not seem to have occurred to your committee that it was the archbishop of the place in which the monument was to be erected, who, in Canon Law, is alone competent to give an imprimatur to what purports to be a sacred figure or set of figures…”

No imprimatur was forthcoming, and Christ the King would not see the light of day until 1978, when it was erected on Haigh Terrace, and it was later moved to Moran Park in 2014. Dun Laoghaire LexIcon Library held an exhibition on this remarkable sculpture, and its turbulent history, last summer (see http://lexiconexhib.omeka.net/ ). “Public bodies move ponderously” indeed…

Nenagh Guardian 27 Jan 1951 Dun Laoghaire A

Nenagh Guardian 27 Jan 1951 Dun Laoghaire B