Bloody But Unbowed


This morning.

Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

More to follow.



The clean up this morning.


Top pic via Ronan Keogh

Previously Haunting Soldier on Broadsheet

69 thoughts on “Bloody But Unbowed

    1. Dub Spot

      Bear in mind some artist shed blood, tears, and sweat in a passionate application to the Revenue for an income tax exception for this. Yes, it was for this.

      1. Eoin

        Well, I wouldn’t hold out much hope he’ll ever get a tax credit for the €20 he shelled out at Woody’s for the can of red paint. But I like your approach.

  1. ollie

    Try reporting a theft or assault and see how long you have to wait.
    The scum who did this won’t be caught, and if they are they won’t be punished.
    That’s my point

    1. Clampers Outside!

      The two times I ever did have need* of them they were on the scene in well under five mins.

      1. A junky climbed in my first floor bedroom window. Gardai were ringing the door bell within two mins I’d say. My flat mate and I were well impressed at the speed of response.
      2. Accosted* in the Spar shop opposite James Hospital, unable to leave due to some lads out front wanting to do me damage. One dude did make a run at me passed shop security.
      (*Accosted? The guy ran in the door of the shop and jumped on me sending the two of us tumbling over the fruit and veg stand… like a scene from an Ealing comedy. I was on the phone to the Gardai at the time)

      Damn… I miss the craic in Dublin :)

      1. Martco

        Depends on where you are I guess:
        1) Wexford, New Ross area, attempted burglary. Took TWO DAYS for them to show up, didn’t seem really keen on investigating, had even cctv’d them in the act. said they knew who they were but silence….6 months on I chased it up, wasn’t even logged.
        2) burglary in Bray, stolen handbag & laptop, 2 hours to respond, again no followup.

  2. Kevin Higgins

    Dear Sirs,

    back in the day were a number of unsuccessful attempts to blow up Lord Gough’s equestrian statue which stood in the Phoenix Park. When none of these worked, paint -I think green, was eventually thrown over it. Behan utterly unimpressed by this, wrote a little ditty in response to these events:
    “This is the way
    Our heroes today
    Are challenging England’s might
    With a midnight attack
    And a stab in the back
    On a horse….
    That can’t even shite”
    I remain,
    Yours truly, etc. etc.

    1. bisted

      …excellent…but if this monstrosity had been erected in Botanic Gardens in Belfast it would have been condemned, rightly, as an exercise in coat-trailing.

  3. Iwerzon

    Vandalism? Maybe. It’s expressive art in my opinion de-romanticising the war, bringing our attention to the millions of canon-fodder. Poor craturs.

  4. RuilleBuille

    Good to see some reality thrust upon this glorification to war and militarism.

    Why we need this paean to a foreign army who invaded our country is beyond me?

  5. Dr.Fart MD

    1. i hate it as a piece. i think it looks awful. Why is it made out of rubbish? Is there meaning to that, or?
    2. It’s a giant english soldier, very much not an irish one who fought in WW1. We can see this as he’s not an infantryman, and he looks super english on top of that.

    1. Nigel

      It’s made out of scrap metal, giving the soldier a fragile, skeletal, appearance, as of something brittle and jangling, threatening to fall apart at every movement, evoking a sense of the massive wreckage left behind by war internalised in the trauma and suffering endured by the soldier which he now has to somehow live with. The idea that this statue glorifies war is the most tone-deaf thing I’ve ever heard. He may ‘look’ English, whatever that means, but many Irish soldiers fought in that war therefore it’s appropriate to commemorate them like this.

      1. Gabby

        @Nigel: This is the first piece of serious art criticism on this thread. Most commenters here wouldn’t know the difference between a Mona Lisa and a piece of scratched wall paper. Come to think about it, there seem to be some contemporary artists who are a bit hazy about the same difference.

        1. Nigel

          I didn’t like it at first – it’s neither elegant nor smooth, very stiff, angular, ugly. But every viewing since has made it grow on me. All of that perfectly conveys the effect of repressed trauma and suffering, the corroded metal like poison, the awkward appearance a rebuke to monuments that are more heroic or romantic or sentimental. The pose has him looking at an angle, not away, not behind. but to the side – he can’t face either the future or the past. It’s an incredibly powerful piece. The vandals are idiots.

          1. Nigel

            I disagree. For guerilla art to work it needs to show a proper understanding of the context in which it’s created, some comprehension of whatever it’s supposed to be commenting on. Red paint as blood on this statue is PETA level dumbness.

        1. Nigel

          Why would you? Completely different war, and an incredibly messed up one at that. They deserve to be remembered, though, the same way we remember Lord Haw Haw was an Irishman. To forget would be to let them, and ourselves, off the hook.

  6. Kevin Quinn

    Lest we forget…some people who actually fought in that deeply stupid and immoral war did not approve of its glorification of its ‘sacrifice’ or ‘courage’ in the manner of this statue.

    Siegfried Sassoon was decorated for valour as a soldier, and then wrote ‘Base Details’ precisely to detract from its glorification.

    If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
    I’d live with scarlet Majors at the base,
    And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
    You’d see me with my puffy petulant face,
    Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
    Reading the Roll of Honour. ‘Poor young chap,’
    I’d say—‘I used to know his father well.
    Yes, we’ve lost heavily in this last scrap.’
    And when the war was done and youth stone dead,
    I’d toddle safely home and die — in bed.

    I don’t think he would have regarded the throwing of red paint – clearly representative of human blood – as ‘vandalism’, but as a protest against the glorification of war. I would have expected The Irish Times and RTÉ at least to acknowledge this perspective in their coverage of the story…

    1. Rob_G

      I actually agree 100% with your sentiments regarding WW1. But I can’t take it upon myself to decide that the Mona Lisa is contributing to the objectification of women and throw some paint at it; this also applies to this other, crappier artwork.

  7. Institutionalise this!

    Literally no one gives one

    Has no relevance to my life or most people’s whatsoever

    First world nonsense for empty heads

    1. Nigel

      The existence of news stories that don’t directly affect you making you angry enough to demand people pay attention to your indifference – the ultimate first world problem.

  8. Iwerzon

    Now hold on a minute. Made in England, bought by an Irish solicitor and Josepha Madigan sticks it up in St Stephen’s Green. Surely there is a process for art works installed in public places. Who decided this was ok? DCC?

  9. Spaghetti Hoop

    Interesting in that this statue, which I really like, is not making a political statement – the red paint however is. Do they know who did it yet? I am guessing the same folk ripping poppy emblems off people. It goes back to the Foundry soon – cleaned I’m sure, but with an added story. Art is often created to provoke, wittingly and unwittingly.

    Destroying the wreaths (from the All Blacks and Dublin GAA) was pretty unforgivable though – where’s the statement in that?

  10. Dub Spot

    In fairness: it is a load of old Bufton Tufton-era ca-ca that should never have been erected anywhere other than the local smelter.

    Someone should FOI the OPW re correspondence., tendering of options, etc. Ken Foxe, for example.

    1. Neilo

      Or alternatively it’s very moving – my wife who is from a solidly Republican background works on The Green (steady now) and was misting up at the sculpture.

          1. Dub Spot

            Let’s draw the line at that well known anagram of Britney Spears: Presbyterian.

            The Irish Times ladies couldn’t reach for the Motilium fast enough,

  11. Dub Spot

    Bumper day for comments vvankfest.

    – THIS
    – Sling your ‘Hook’
    – Spice Girl Gaa tickets sold out.

    *Wipes eye with pair of Geri H Union Hack knickers*

  12. Taxpayer

    Interesting to find out who did this act and if they require Free Legal Aid claiming welfare benefits at taxpayer’s expense. They scraped up the price of a tin of spray paint but who paid for it?

  13. :-Joe

    An artist expresses thoughts through a medium… then plants the artwork in a public place ….
    A member of the public is confronted with the artwork…. then expresses thoughts through the medium of protest using vandalism and agression…

    The result is a win win for both…. and far more interesting.

    Is it supposed to be a form of “Interactive art”?… No?.. So then why not put a protective case around it or have a soldier to guard it or maybe don’t put it in a public place in Ireland if it’s a british soldier made by a british artist to commemorate war, the british traditions of war and the poppy etc. etc.?

    Turns out people in Ireland get angry when they see symbols of militarism, colonial past history and war propaganda particularly when it’s from the disgusting arms-dealing culture of the british establishment.

    Who’d have thought, eh?…


    1. Steph Pinker

      … who’d have thought an ignoramus on the internet would post a vitriolic comment about something they know nothing about… Eh?

  14. Ollie Cromwell

    The paint-throwers are no different than the knuckle-dragging No Platformers who try to kill off free speech in universities because they’re afraid of what they might hear.
    The sculpture is the complete opposite of a celebration of war.

  15. Taxpayer

    The sculpture is no different to a history book of the past. Learn from the past ….the futility of war, the loss of life, the pain to all families of loosing a loved one. What would we do today if another country attacked us? Most of those who fought on all sides were children….under 16 years of age. They would not be named in court let alone hold a gun today. They were used as cannon fodder. The 35,000 from Ireland fought to free Little Belgium or earn money to feed themselves in an Ireland that had no jobs and people in Dublin who lived in appalling tenements. My grandfather did not get the farm and could not travel to AMERICA with his brothers as he was too young. He joined the Connaught Rangers in 1912 and was posted to India. In 1915 he was shipped at night not knowing where the ship was heading for until it landed in Marseille France. The Connaught Rangers had to march to the 2nd Battle of Ypres and the French greeted them with wine and cheese as they walked through the field praising a Catholic regiment en route to aid their troups. The Germans used mustard gas and he was hospitalised in Dover. He was asked by De Valera to join the Irish Army from 1939 – 1945 as an experienced sergeant and left his five children in Monaghan to work in McKee Barracks. He managed to cycle home whenever possible and his wife and children suffered his loss. That’s sacrifice. Perhaps when the E.U. start conscription to protect their borders we might appreciate that ‘choice’ is no longer an option. Shall we daub them too with red paint in years to come?

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