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THE FOUR MASTERS MEMORIAL

THE FOUR MASTERS MEMORIAL – A CELTIC CROSS BY JAMES CAHILL

Located within a triangle formed by Eccles Street, Berkeley Road and St.Joseph’s Church.

I have never managed to gain access to the park where this Celtic Cross is located as it is closed to the public everytime I visit the area.

Four Masters Memorial (1876)
By James Cahill (d.1890)
Commissioned by Sir William Wilde (1815-1876)

This high cross on a large plinth commemorates the Franciscan friars of Donegal town, who between 1632 and 1636 compiled from early sources a history of the ancient kingdom of Ireland which became known as the Annals of the Four Masters.

The Annals are chronicles of the medieval history of Ireland. Sir William Wilde (father of Oscar Wilde) was the chief instigator of the memorial to the four writers who created the Annals. Wilde was an eye and ear surgeon and an antiquarian, who took an active role in sculptural commissions in Dublin. He was passionately interested in the history of Ireland and was a very active member of the Royal Irish Academy, hence the theme of this sculpture.

James Cahill was born in Delvin, Westmeath. On the death of his father, a builder, his mother moved to Dublin, and he became a pupil in the Royal Dublin Society School, where he won prizes in 1851 and 1852. He sent a sculptural group (part of a marble monument executed for the Presentation Convent in Wexford) to be exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1852, and then went to Rome where he remained for a few months.

On his return to Dublin in 1853 he entered Hogan’s studio, where he worked as a pupil and assistant until 1858. He executed a number of works for churches and also portrait busts and statues. His most important production was the statue of Daniel O’Connell, erected in Ennis in 1865. His works appeared in the Royal Hibernian Academy at intervals between 1856 and 1886. He died in Dublin on 28th October, 1890, aged about 60, and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

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