On Guild Street in Dublin stands a strange statue: it is a big head, representing Luke Kelly (Lúcás Ó Ceallaigh), a great artist of Irish folk music. A true icon in Ireland, this singer, musician, and composer was in himself a high symbol of Irish traditional music. That is why this statue pays tribute to him.
Luke Kelly (1940-1984), was one of the most emblematic members of the famous Irish band “The Dubliners”. Very committed, he composed many songs denouncing the Irish social crisis of the time, the war, the arms race, workers’ rights…etc.
Unfortunately for the artist, Luke Kelly learned in 1980 that he was suffering from a brain tumour. A tumour from which he died in 1984, causing immense grief throughout Ireland.
Since then, tributes to the Irish artist have multiplied. The statue on Guild Street is one of them.
It is a huge sculpture representing his head. Very imposing, it was made from stone, for the face, and copper wire to form his beard and hair. Very realistic, it presents Luke Kelly singing, eyes closed, mouth open, visibly concentrated and passionate about his music.
This statue is a vibrant tribute to the Irish cultural heritage built by the artist. An iconic heritage, which has not only endowed Ireland with some of its most beautiful folk songs, but has also brought Scottish music back to life (Luk Kelly wrote many songs strongly influenced by Scotland).
Access to the statue is free and open to anyone walking down Guild Street in Dublin. There are countless selfies made on the spot with this statue. It’s a little bit the tradition on the spot: impossible to pass in front of it without immortalizing the moment!