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Jerome Connor

May 2, 2013 - May 6, 2013


Jerome Connor

Féile na Bealtaine is honoured to have the opportunity to showcase this unique and wonderful collection during the May Bank Holiday weekend – 2nd -6th May. The exhibition will be opened by Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, at The Diseart on Saturday 4th May at 8.30pm. There will be a lecture by Jerome Connor expert Giollamuire Ó Murchú on the life and works of the artist in An Díseart on Sunday  5 May at 12.00 noon


Jerome Connor (1874-1943), raised in Annascaul and with close family ties in Dingle, lived most of his life in America, where he was acclaimed as a world class sculptor of public memorials in bronze. Some of his works: the Angels of the Battlefield honouring the nursing nuns who served in the US Civil War, and Archbishop John Carroll, founder of Georgetown University (both in Washington) celebrate the contributions of the Irish to US civic life, others, like the four Robert Emmet statues – one in Dublin, three in the US – reflect their ties to their homeland. He also celebrated other themes: the Native Americans, Walt Whitman, the US soldiers of the Great War. In Dublin’s Merrion Square, a mourning Éire honours the Gaelic poets of Kerry, while the Lusitania Peace Memorial (Cobh, Co. Cork) recalls war’s civilian victims and those who care for them, appealing for world peace: Síocháin in ainm Dé.

For some years in the 20s Connor and his family stayed in Dublin, where he set up a studio near the Phoenix Park, mainly to carry out the Lusitania project and a related US commisssion honouring one of its victims, his friend, Arts and Crafts promoter Elbert Hubbard: Connor and his wife Anne had first met on Hubbard’s Roycroft campus in 1899. peace He produced portraits of the 1926 cabinet, and an entry for the Irish coinage (now displayed in the National Museum). A trained bronze caster, he poured his own bronzes, including the heroic Mourning Fishermen for Cobh. However Lusitania funding stalled in the Depression – its bronze Angel was completed later with Arts Council funding – and without major work, Connor, in financial difficulty, lost his original studio, and turned to making smaller pieces: creating bronzes for a growing circle of patrons, works often reflecting Irish ideals: Irish Mother, The Labourer, Peace, Irish Peasant Girl, Street Singer, and also developing a freer, impressionistic style.


Connor died in Dublin’s Adelaide Hospital in August 1943, in the care of his patron James Digby, who had provided him with an apartment and new clients in his last years . Still well remembered in his old neighbourhood, after the National Gallery retrospective in 1993, at local initiative the lane next to his studio was renamed Jerome Connor Place, and a plaque erected, bearing his friend Patrick Kavanagh’s obituary poem: .


“He sits in a corner of my memory
With his short pipe, holding it by the bowl,
And his sharp eye and his knotty fingers
And his laughing soul
Shining through the gaps of his crusty wall”


In 1988, a memorial to Connor, by sculptor Domhnall Ó Murchadha RHA,was erected in Annascaul. Then, with estate approval and ESB funding, Ó Murchadha arranged to reproduce in bronze eight Connor pieces from his own collection, with the aim of showing the bronzes in Annascaul. A Jerome Connor Trust was set up, with National Gallery participation, to care for them. The exhibit, now standing at fourteen works, includes studies for six memorials, and a two metre panel honouring the 1916 Rising, all held in safe keeping until a suitable gallery is built for their display.


May 2, 2013
May 6, 2013
Event Category:


An Díseart
Green Street,
Dingle, Ireland