Luke Kelly to be celebrated with two statues

Photo courtesy John Coll of his Luke Kelly statue for Luke Kelly Park.

Dublin legend Luke Kelly is set to be remembered on both sides of the Liffey for his contribution to Irish music.

The singer from the Docklands will have his statue, commissioned by Dublin City Council, placed in the Luke Kelly Park, a few metres from where he was born. That particular statue, made from travertine, has Luke in song, in a luminous red-orange-rust colour, which according to its sculptor Vera Klute, will be the focal point of the sculpture.

However, it has emerged that the Kelly family were initially dissatisfied with this piece, which explains the delay in its erection. While Vera was sculpting that piece for the Luke Kelly Park, a few hundred metres away sculptor John Coll was working on another Luke Kelly statue at his foundry in the Castleforbes Business Park off Sherriff Street.
Coll is responsible for the Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh statues on the north and south sides of the city respectively, and was commissioned to do this piece by graphic artist Gerry Hunt.
Both sculptors were unaware that each were sculpting a statue dedicated to Luke Kelly and under rules set out by the Dublin City Council, one statue per individual presented a difficult situation for the city’s arts office.

However, at a council meeting in July of this year, City Arts Officer Ray Yeates said that both will be accepted and the one that was commissioned by DCC for Luke Kelly Park will go on as planned and the one donated by Gerry Hunt and sculpted by John Coll has yet to find a home.
There was also a third submission by Paul Daly, who sculpted the Phil Lynott statue, which depicted Luke standing with a banjo in his arms, but according to Daly it was not accepted.

NewsFour spoke with the Public Art Manager in Dublin City Council, Ruairí Ó Cuív, on the timelines set out for the two statues. “Vera Klute’s statue is a very brave and exciting project, but planning permission needs to be obtained and in total we are looking at about one year to eighteen months,” said Ó Cuív.

In regards to the statue sculpted by John Coll, Ó Cuív says the Kelly Family would like it in St Stephen’s Green, but this would mean approaching the Office of Public Works, because they have control over that area.
Ó Cuív reckons that finding a suitable site worthy of Kelly and also building the plinth for it to be placed on will take approximately six months to a year. He went on to say that the Kelly family have gone on record to say that they are happy with both statues.

by Paul Carton