City Hall: O’Connell Plinth

About the site

The O’Connell Plinth stands outside City Hall on Dame Street. City Hall was originally built as the Royal Exchange, Dublin’s main centre of trading and commerce in the eighteenth century. It has been the seat of the capital city’s local government since it was purchased and renamed by the City Corporation (now Dublin City Council) in the early 1850s.

The O’Connell Plinth was originally constructed to support a statue of Daniel O’Connell by John Hogan, that is now located in the Rotunda in City Hall. The plinth is located at street level in a paved area leading to the main entrance of City Hall.

About the commission

Artists were invited through a two-stage commission to imagine a new, temporary sculpture for the O’Connell Plinth.

The commissioned artist is Alan Phelan. Read more about the artist and the commission here.


Public survey

We would love to hear your thoughts on public sculpture, what your expectations are and how you would like to get involved with Sculpture Dublin. Let us know by taking 10-minutes to complete this short questionnaire. Thank you!

Local engagement

Sculpture Dublin is working on the development of local engagement and consultation projects with Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount and a number of local community organisations who have expressed interest in being involved.

Local Events

  • Sculpture Dublin Lecture Series with Paula Murphy

A series of six lectures on public sculpture in Dublin will be streamed online. There will be one lecture a month, starting in January 2021. The lectures, which were filmed in the City Hall, explore public sculpture in Dublin from different viewpoints, as indicated in the lecture titles below. The lecturer, Paula Murphy, is a specialist in the history and theory of sculpture and has published widely on Irish sculpture. A UCD emeritus professor, she is a member of the Steering Group of Sculpture Dublin. A Q/A with Professor Murphy will take place after each lecture. This series of lectures will focus on the historic work in the city. Contemporary sculptural practice in Dublin will be explored with The Hugh Lane and The LAB Gallery.

The bookings take place separately for each lecture through Eventbrite. On the day of the monthly session, the bookings will open for the following lecture screening & Q/A (link below for the next lecture).

Please note that the lectures will be made available to watch on our website.

1. The Story

29 January 2021, 1-2pm

This lecture recounts the history of the city’s public sculpture since the first monuments were erected in the eighteenth century.

2. The Practice

26 February 2021, 1-2pm

This lecture examines the education of sculptors in Dublin, the making of sculpture, the materials used and the location of public sculptural work in the city.

3. The Commission

26 March 2021, 1-2pm

This lecture discusses the commissioning process – how a monument gets to be located in the city. The O’Connell Monument is used as a case study. After the filmed lecture, Jason Ellis, sculptor and sculpture conservator, will talk with Paula Murphy about conservation work on the monument.

4. The Sculptors

30 April 2021, 1-2pm

This lecture introduces some of the major sculptors who worked in Dublin in the nineteenth century and their practice. The contrast between the career of a local sculptor (Thomas Farrell) and an absentee (John Henry Foley) will be explored.

5. The Women

28 May 2021, 1-2pm

This lecture examines the role of women in public sculpture in Dublin, a practice that was largely male-dominated until the mid-twentieth century. The career of sculptor Gabriel Hayes will be used as a case study.

6. The Controversy

25 June 2021, 1-2pm

This lecture identifies the different ways in which public sculpture in Dublin has engendered controversy. Particular emphasis is given to the fate of the Imperial monuments that were erected in the city – most of which were destroyed and/or removed.

Next Lecture: 6. The Controversy– Friday 25 June, 1-2pm

The lecture will be streamed online and followed by a Q/A on Zoom with Professor Murphy.

VTS Sculpture Club with The Hugh Lane Gallery

Since October 2020, The Hugh Lane Gallery and Sculpture Dublin are delivering a series of monthly Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) discussions for adults.
VTS is a fun way to look at art and make meaning out of artworks collectively. You will have an opportunity to see works from the Hugh Lane Gallery’s sculpture collection with a new eye. No background knowledge is needed for the participants nor is it provided by the facilitator. Instead of the conventional approach to visual art, VTS encourages to us think speculatively, in an enjoyable and open-ended way.
Join us for a half an hour at lunchtime (monthly, on Wednesdays) for an encounter with sculpture – old, new and yet to be imagined!
This discussions are presented through the Zoom online platform.
The next online VTS Sculpture sessions are indicated below.
To book a place, please go to:
Wednesday 14 July, 1-1.30pm: REGISTER HERE