General Seán MacEoin Memorial
2014 was the fortieth anniversary of the death of General Seán MacEoin and as part of an extensive programme of anniversary events Longford County Council commissioned a commemorative statue to be installed at the cross roads in the centre of the village of Ballinalee.
Mayo sculptor, Rory Breslin who completed the emigration sculpture in Centenary Square Longford, was the successful applicant in an extensive selection programme. The selection committee received a wide variety of proposals from some of the country’s leading sculptors, each sculptor interpreting the brief of “Seán MacEoin – blacksmith, freedom fighter and politician”, in their own original and imaginative way.
The statue was designed along traditional lines. The portrait in the sculpture depicts MacEoin in his early twenties, the figure is cast in bronze, 2000mm high (from heel to the top of his head) and stands on a limestone base 1000mm square. His head is turned to the right towards Clonfin while his right arm is resting on an anvil which in turn is balanced on a block of wood. The anvil is cast from a mould of the original anvil used as a youth by Seán MacEoin. In his hand is a copy of the Treaty. The bronze statue of the General is standing upon a limestone plinth upon which are carved, the names of all of the members of the North Longford Flying Column who participated in the Clonfin ambush. The General is dressed militarily and depicted as young, vital but relaxed as most of the images and newsreels show him.
According to the sculptor Rory Breslin;”This seemingly simple presentation tells the story of his background (the anvil), his daring and dangerous youth (the uniform and gloves in hand ready for action) and his later dedication to constitutional politics (the copy of the constitution). This narrative encapsulates the brief while retaining a freshness capturing the vitality of the man.”
According to Councillor Micheal Carrigy: “the dedication of a suitable commemorative statue to General Seán MacEoin has been an objective of mine since I entered politics, the statue will form the centrepiece of an entire programme of events being organised to commemorate this towering figure of Irish politics and history.
The monument will not just be a testament to the man himself, it will also stand as recognition of the courage and patriotism of all of the men and women of North Longford in the nation’s struggle for independence”.
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