The Lady Vanishes


rutlandrutland 2

The Rutland Fountain, Merrion Square in its heyday (top) and today (above)

A waterless fountain.

Penned in.

Funkshot writes:

“A classic example of municipal laziness and lack of civic pride. This is the Rutland Fountain on Merrion Square just down from Government Buildings. As you can see it is enclosed by a railing, and the water turned off. But if you look at the drawing from the National Library, you can see what the fountain is missing – its statue (note the clam) and the running water – it is a fountain after all. Structurally the edifice is fine having been renovated in 2009 and the water could easily be reconnected. I mean how difficult is it to put a replica statue back in situ?


Civic Pride? (Funkshot)

80 thoughts on “The Lady Vanishes

  1. SDaedalus

    Amazing print. Would love to see a re-enactment of it with the fountain, the lady and the Dublin street hawkers.

    1. cluster

      Putting in a replica of a statue now would be pastiche and of very arguable benefit.

      By all means, one could debate the merits of spending public money in re-creating a statue long gone from that site based on a print in the NLI, but to immediately make the accusation that failing to do so is ‘municipal laziness and lack of civic pride’ is nasty, narcissistic and a bit silly.

      The council presumably should ignore conservation concerns and forget about trying to make the best use of public resources and instead concentrate solely on guessing what notions might come to funkshot years into the future.

    1. Hybridchild

      In the late 80’s I do believe I remeber the fountain still running when I was a kid.

      Also the other side of it was a pond with 3 small fountains that was filled in at the same time.

  2. The Lady Vanishes

    At last! My very own post! (haven’t had the figure of that brazzer since Venice Beach 1971 tbh…)


      1. Spartacus

        *un hommage

        *an* homage (en Anglais) would be acceptable at a push.

        *a* homage, non.


          1. Spartacus

            You shivered just a little when you posted that, didn’t you? Been saving that one up for just the right occasion, haven’t you? Go on, you can tell us – the truth will set you free.

  3. David G

    “I mean how difficult is it to put a replica statue back in situ?”

    It’s actually much harder than you think [I do this for a living] and it depends on many (wildly varying) factors.

    Hope this answers your question,

    David G.

    1. joe

      it obviously doesn’t answer any questions at all. let’s hear those factors, wildly varying or not

        1. Violet

          A contentless debate about an empty niche may satisfy some artistic urge, David and Louis, but it would help the rest of us if you descended to facts. Why is it hard to put a statue in there? Why is it easy?

        2. Spartacus

          I find that in general they’re easy targets, take bait eagerly, and implode in a very satisfying fashion when poked. Unfortunately, they’re rarely gifted with any meaningful degree of intellect. They do, however, tend towards the fairly harmless end of the spectrum, seldom displaying any indication of an underlying tendency to dangerous wit.

      1. David G

        Hey L,
        Thanks for getting back to me on this. As a person who does this for a living, this is actually quite a difficult operation.



  4. SDaedalus

    There’s a photo of the Rutland fountain from 1966 at the NLI link below. No statue.

    When I went on a guided tour of Farmleigh some years ago, there were two statues of partially clothed women in the hallway, quite voluptuous as these statues go. The guide told us that they were originally in the Dept of Foreign Affairs, until Dev requested their removal. They were then sent to the Aras, where they were the first thing to meet him when he arrived there to begin his Presidency. He again asked for them to be removed. Perhaps the statue here (situate just across from Leinster House and presumably in his line of vision on a daily basis) suffered a similar fate for the same reason?

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Interesting theory. I did that Farmleigh tour too and I remember some hop-ha about statues.
      I think Funkshot is jumping the gun here with the “municipal laziness” accusation. There are lots of bricked up Georgian windows around the city for the tax – but you cannot expect public money to be spent on restoring absolutely everything.
      It would be great to find out what happened to the statue. Then again, looking at the illustration…sure it wasn’t just cosplay?

    2. Snoozy Le Beef

      Given that the Church owned the square between 1930 and 1974, I would suggest the best direction to direct inquiries might be towards the Archbishop’s palace…

      1. Louis Lefronde

        Yes, the archbishop’s palace would be a good place to start. The Catholic Fundamentalists who ran Ireland had a great distaste for nude sculptures. Quite unlike the Italian church which commissioned many. Interestingly, when the Christian Brother’s acquired (looted) the Charlemont’s statues from Marino back in the late 19th century they proceeded to cover them up?

      2. bisted

        …in defense of the archbishop…that statue is definitely female…a couple of cherubs it would have been case closed.

  5. wearnicehats

    it wasn’t a fountain originally. It provided drinking water to the local poor (as you can see from the picture) 50 years before drinking water was installed in their houses. I think the statue was removed as long ago as 1975, one year after the park was leased to Dublin City Council.

  6. Louis Lefronde

    Not that difficult to replace at all. A replica statue could easily be commissioned and put in place (unless you’re Irish of course?) From the NLI engraving it would appear the Rutland may even have been a precursor to the Floozy!

    I say bring it back :-)

      1. Suspendered Animation

        The floozie of the 1980s installed to replace a phallus was removed and replaced by another phallus in a gesture weirdly akin to the suppression of Irish feminism which has taken place over the past two decades.

      2. Louis Lefronde

        Probably due to the recurring anti-social behaviour on O’Connell street….plus the odd bottle of Fairy Liquid?

        1. Suspendered Animation

          No Louis. Darker forces were at work.

          Ladylumps are not kosher as far as Dublin City Council is concerned.

          Where btw is Anna Livia now resting?

          1. ABM's bloody underwear

            I saw her the other day in some green space, while driving home from the Phoenix Park. I thought it looked very much out of place.

          2. Suspendered Animation

            The only thing worse than having one’s online identity stolen is having it stolen by a woman who doesn’t shave her muff.

  7. CousinJack

    Catholic sexual guilty politics as played out in the great success that the Irish Republic has been for its people

  8. wearnicehats

    actually – sorry that brazen attempt at imparting knowledge was sadly mistaken. It seems the fountain was decommissioned and the railings (not the original ones) put across as long ago as the late 19th Century. Damned Victorians. It was built to provide drinking water though – I got that bit right

    1. Alan

      Nope, the railings were only put in relatively recently – I used to pass there every day in the late 1990s and the seat was accessible. Everyone knows the Dail Gardai can’t leave their station across the road and when we saw the railings go in, and assumed it was to prevent use by homeless/sleepers/unsociables.

  9. Am i still On this Island

    As a city we don’t have the best record on relation to water features, the floozy, the permanently foaming famine memorial on dame street and the always off fountain outside Where Major tons used to be

  10. Louis Lefronde

    And while we’re on the subject of O’Connell Street and where the Floozy used to be…. can we have our bloody pillar back too?

    Until 1966 when it was blown up, Dubliners didn’t really care that Nelson was up there – by all accounts it was a very good place to meet, plus if you paid a small entrance fee you could climb to the top and have a panoramic view of the city.

    At least the pillar actually made money unlike the spire which frankly is good for nothing.

    One interesting observation about Nelson’s Pillar is that it served as the inspiration for Oscar Wilde’s short story ‘The Happy Prince’. To my knowledge Copenhagen had the foresight to place a statue of the little mermaid (Hans Christian Andersen) at the entrance to the harbour…

    1. Suspendered Animation

      Louis, you, SDaedalus, James Egan and Wearnicehats are a mine of information, thank you!

      Next time I’m in Merrion Square I shall definitely take a look at this monument.

  11. The Lady Vanishes

    Really Louis? Which bit served as the inspiration? I am being serious about this. My grandson has a mug with Oscar’s Little Prince on it and I would love to tell him.

    1. Louis Lefronde

      The pillar with the statue on top

      Dubliners of course have a great sense of humour he was also known as ‘Ireland’s First Astronaut’…. or …..’The One Armed Pirate’

  12. Errol Gunne

    My grandson has a mug with a cow on it but that doesn’t mean I tell him about his grandmother!

  13. bisted

    Dear Heather….everyone thinks you are a clueless gobshite put in place by a clueless gobshite Taoiseach cheered on by a philistine rabble of FG/LAB TDs. For my part, I generally agree with that assessment but I believe it’s a shade charitable. You could of course admit your limitations and surround yourself with knowledgeable people who could give a fart in their dungarees for the Arts.

    ps …you could start with SDaedalus….(no relation)

          1. The Lady Vanishes

            ‘[T]o give a fart in one’s dungarees’ is a term of art, not meant to be taken literally.

            You should thank him/her nicely.

  14. Serv

    Was a thread on archiseek about this. Of ten fountains on dublin streets, only one working, that being the davitt fountain on college green. which only got restored about 5 years ago after years of neglect.

  15. pissedasanewt

    They are removing all the public toilets…. if the fountain was back in place, this is all this would become.

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