Statue of Irish writer and journalist Pádraic Ó Conaire unveiled in Galway

A bronze replica of a statue of Irish writer and journalist Pádraic Ó Conaire (28 February 1882 – 6 October 1928)  has been unveiled in Eyre Square, Galway (Irish: An Fhaiche Mhór, Gaillimh) in the west of Ireland.  Irish President Michael D Higgins performed the ceremony. The original statue, by sculptor Albert Power, was removed for preservation eleven years ago and the replica was made using original drawings by the sculptor and a caste from a mould of the existing statue, which is now located in Galway City Museum (Irish: Músaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe).

Pádraic Ó Conaire was born in Galway in 1882. Over the years he was active in the Gaelic League and wrote 26 books, 473 stories, 237 essays and 6 plays, mainly in the Irish language. He published his first short story, An t-Iascaire agus an File (‘The Fisherman and the Poet’), in An Claidheamh Soluis in 1901. In 1906, he won an Oireachtas award for short fiction for his story Nora Mhárcais Bhig (‘Nora, Daughter of Little Marcus’). The novella Deoraíocht (‘Exile’) was published in 1910 and his collection of short stories An Chéad Chloch (‘The First Stone’) in 1914 to great acclaim.

In 1917 he completed Seacht mBua an Éirí Amach (Seven Virtues of the Rising), in which each of the seven stories, a novella and six short stories, looks at the way the 1916 Easter Rising intervenes in the lives of Irish men and women. In the Clare East by-election in July 1917 Pádraic Ó Conaire supported and worked for a  Sinn Féin victory and their candidate Éamon de Valera (1882–1975) was returned by a large majority. Seacht mBua an Éirí Amach was first published in Irish in 1918 and has been described  by some as Pádraic Ó Conaire’s last important creative work.

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