Monumentitis in Midleton – a public lecture

Cashman Monument 1

‘Who was Nellie Cashman?’ is a question frequently raised by people when discussing this monument. Hopefully the question will be answered on Thursday.

For decades there was only on solitary public monument in Midleton – the Clonmult monument that marks the northern end of Main Street. ¬†In 1998 a second monument was added just a couple of meters from the Clonmult Monument. Then in the early 2000s came the Gyrator on the site of the former Goose’s Acre, again, not far from the Clonmult Monument. From 2014 to 2015 Midleton installed FIVE sculptures or monuments, four of them in the area around the Clonmult Monument and one isolated in the park on the Bailick Road. This latter is dedicated to the Choctaw people who donated $170 of their very scarce and hard earned money ¬†towards Irish Famine Relief in the 1840s. There can be few other towns in Ireland with such a number of public sculptures or monuments, but the townspeople know very little about them. Indeed the discussion has generally been about the large sum of money spent on them. This raises questions about their quality as public art.

Choctaw evening 2

The magnificent ‘Kindred Spirits’ by Alex Pentek. Situated in Bailick Park, it is dedicated to the Choctaw people who made a donation to Irish famine relief in the 1840s despite their own poverty and tragic history.

On Thursday, 26 November, at 1.00 pm in Midleton Library I will present a free public lecture on these monuments and public sculptures, with the emphasis on the history of the monuments, of the characters and events commemorated by them, and some consideration of their artistic merits. The aim is to move the discussion away from the money spent on them to the appreciation of their role in the town. As a lunchtime lecture the presentation will take 45 minutes at most. All are welcome.