Daniel O’Connell

A statue of Irish patriot Daniel O’Connell, a layman, was first mooted in 1875 by a committee of Irish Catholics to honour O’Connell’s role in fighting for religious freedom for Catholics in Ireland and Great Britain. It took years for enough money to be raised to build the life-sized statue, which was commissioned in 1886, cast in Belgium in 1888 and erected in 1890.

The statue was originally placed in front of the Cathedral, but was moved to make way for the statue of Archbishop Mannix.

O’Connell, the Liberator, is depicted as an orator, with his left hand grasping his coat and one foot to the front. His right hand holds a petition signed by Irish Catholics calling for the repeal of the Act of union with England. The books by O’Connell’s feet symbolise his desire to achieve change by legal means rather than by violence.