The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD attended a special ceremony in St Stephen’s Green Park, to welcome the arrival of The Hauntings Soldier to Ireland.
This beautiful and thought-provoking sculpture was created by Martin Galbravy and constructed by Chris Hannam at Dorset Forge and Fabrication. Its ghostly figure – careworn and weary from battle – evokes the fragility and suffering of those who survived World War I and returned home to an uncertain and difficult future.
The Hauntings Soldier‘s journey to Ireland began initially when Sabina Purcell discovered her own family connections with those who served in World War I. This led her to explore how we might respectfully remember and commemorate the soldiers from the Island of Ireland, who gave their lives in World War I and also those who survived and returned home.
The sculpture will be in St Stephen’s Green until Monday November 26, coinciding with the centenary commemorations to mark the ending of World War I.
Minister Madigan said: “During this Decade of Centenaries, we have shone a light, in many cases for the first time, on the stories of the men and women, from the Island of Ireland, who served and sacrificed their lives in World War I. We have explored, with respect and compassion, the differing motivations of those who fought – many driven by complex ideals and aspirations and others driven by economic necessity. The horrors of the battlefield left deep and lasting scars on those who survived traumas, which were often compounded by their difficult experiences on returning home.
“As we approach the centenary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the fighting in World War I, I am delighted to support creative endeavours, such as this, that provide opportunities for people of all ages to consider the sensitive legacies of our past with understanding, empathy and a spirit of mutual respect and kindness. As we reflect upon the complex narratives surrounding Ireland’s participation in World War I, we are reminded of our shared history and common humanity.
“I congratulate Sabina Purcell for her vision and commitment in bringing this beautiful and thought-provoking sculpture to Dublin. It is a great achievement and I commend also the many partners and sponsors, who have given of their time and expertise so generously, to bring this project to fruition.”