Edward Delaney’s sculpture comes ‘back home’


There was a sort of homecoming last Saturday evening when a public sculpture by the late Edward Delaney RHA was unveiled in his native town of Crossboyne, County Mayo on Saturday, July 6. The sculpture entitled ‘Integration’ comprises an abstract stainless steel globe and has been donated by the family. It was situated in a specially developed park, opposite Crossboyne church, near Claremorris, which has also been donated by the family.

Edward Delaney, a major figure in Irish art, was born near Crossboyne in 1930 and later moved to Dublin and then to Europe where he was educated in art institutes and foundries in Germany and Italy. He is most famous for his Wolfe Tone statue and famine memorial in St Stephen’s Green and the Thomas Davis statue and memorial fountain in College Green in central Dublin. He died in Connemara in 2009 and was buried in Crossboyne cemetery

At the unveiling. Eamon Delaney said that although his father travelled far and wide after leaving Claremorris, studying in arts schools in German and Italy, and exhibiting in New York,  he never lost his sense of connection to Crossboyne and the land and fields in which he grew up. He always said later that he had an idyllic childhood, playing with horses and animals and by the river and, in many ways, his artistic career was an attempt to recapture the creative innocence of that time. He had written extensively about this in his book, Breaking the Mould- A Story of Art and Ireland.

For almost 30 years, Edward lived in Carraroe in Galway, by the sea, where he established a sculpture park called ‘Beyond the Pale, comprising stainless steel sculpture or trees, planted in over 20 acres of land. One of these sculptures is now in Crossboyne. However, in his declining years, he said that when he passed away, which he did in 2009, he wanted to be buried back in Crossboyne, with his mother. ‘Now his sculpture is following him’ said he son Eamon. Ronan Delaney, Eamon’s brother Ronan, and their cousin Darragh were instrumental in getting the Crossboyne project complete.

Eddie was very proud of his Mayo roots. In 1965, he was made Mayo Man of the Year, nominated from a panel which included the then Chief Justice Conor Maguire, Paul O’Dwyer, a Democratic party candidate in that year’s New York mayoral election and Father Thomas Egan, a priest who became famous for the restoration of the 750-year old Ballintubber Abbey in Mayo.


There are now proposals to also have sculptures by Edward Delaney erected in Claremorris and in his more recent home town of Carraroe, Co Galway. The placement of a sculpture in Claremorris would fill the void left by the controversial removal of Delaney’s 1916 memorial, erected in 1966 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.


RTE TV News obituary on Edward Delaney