Author Topic: Brian Boru for St Stephens Green?  (Read 525 times)

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Offline John Grace

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Brian Boru for St Stephens Green?
« on: March 21, 2012, 01:59:43 PM »
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  • This letter was published in the Irish Times newspaper.
    Sir, – The Victorian ambiance of St Stephen’s Green seems perfect for a classical equestrian statue of Ireland’s greatest High King, Brian Boru, the millennium of whose death is fast approaching.

    We believe Brian Boru deserves the place at the centre of the park, where the statue of King George once stood. Once in place, it would appear to visitors as though the park was designed around the likeness of an Irish leader, rather than a foreign colonial ruler, or bed of flowers.

    In his address to the assembled troops before the Battle of Clontarf, Brian Boru spoke of Irishmen fighting for their country, surely the first ever mention of the notion of Irish nationality? Brian Boru was the first and only High King to unite the warring tribes of Irish into a nation. His was the greatest Irish life ever lived. Were the Office of Public Works to permit a monument to be erected, people would have the chance to pause and reflect about the sublime achievements of Brian Boru, and drawing inspiration from it, enrich their own lives.

    We know from our study of history, that Brian Boru was about 73 years old on Good Friday, 1014, so it was his oldest son, and not he, who led the Irish legions into battle while the ageing High King prayed in his tent. We further understand that Brian Boru gave a rousing address to the assembled troops from horseback before the bloody battle with a cross in one hand and a sword in the other. This is the moment, described in the Annals of Innisfallen, that we wish to memorialise with a classic equestrian statue, like the one of Marcus Aurelius in Rome .

    “Their ranks had been formed before daylight, and as the sun rose, Brian rode through the lines of his soldiers with a crucifix in one hand, and a drawn sword in the other; he reminded them of the day selected by the pagan invader to offer battle, and exhorted them to conquer or die. Standing in the centre of his army, and raising his powerful voice, his speech was worthy of so great a king and so good a man: ‘Be not dismayed my soldiers, because my son Donough is avenging our wrongs in Leinster; he will return victorious, and in the glory of his conquests you shall share.

    “On your valor rests the hopes of your country today; and what surer grounds can they rest upon? Oppression now attempts to bend you down to servility; will you burst its chains and rise to the independence of Irish freemen? Your cause is one approved by Heaven. You seek not the oppression of others; you fight for your country and sacred altars. It is a cause that claims heavenly protection. In this day’s battle the interposition of that God who can give victory will be singly manifested in your favour.

    “Let every heart, then, be the throne of confidence and courage. You know that the Danes are strangers to religion and humanity; they are inflamed with the desire of violating the fairest daughters of this land of beauty, and enriching themselves with the spoils of sacrilege and plunder. The barbarians have impiously fixed, for their struggle, to enslave us, upon the very day on which the Redeemer of the world was crucified. Victory they shall not have! from such brave soldiers as you they can never wrest it; for you fight in defence of honor, liberty and religion – in defence of the sacred temples of the true God, and of your sisters, wives and daughters.

    “Such a holy cause must be the cause of God, who will deliver your enemies this day into your hands. Onward, then, for your country and your sacred altars!’.” (From Annals of Innisfallen, Mooney, p436)

    Texas Pastor Terrell O’Brien, who is also an accomplished monumental sculptor, famous for his statue of Rev Billy Graham, in front of the university he founded, has been chosen by the O’Briens to carry out the project.

    A photograph of a rough model he is working on is viewable at The scheme is simple: We will pay for the statue, and its erection, and hopefully the Office of Public Works, and the art adviser can help with the proper permits and approvals. – Yours, etc,


    Member of the Board of Directors,

    O’Brien Clan Foundation,

    Manhattan Avenue,

    Hermosa Beach, California, US.


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