'Talking Statues' bring Dublin's historical figures to life

Visitors to the GPO can now get a 'call' from Cu Chulainn with the launch of 'Talking Statues'. From left: Anna Mc Hugh, GPO; Joe Duffy who wrote and voiced the statue of George Salmon; Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Aine Clancy; and Keelin Fagan from Failte Ireland
John Monaghan

VISITORS to Dublin can now take a call from James Joyce and Wolfe Tone with the launch of Talking Statues.

Ten statues have been selected for the pilot project, which will see well-known actors recite a monologue lasting two and a half minutes representing the historical figure in question - from the swipe of a smartphone.

Although common in cities in Britain, it is the first project of its kind in Ireland.

Tourists wanting to learn more about one of the founding fathers of the Irish Republic, James Connolly, will hear a script written and narrated by Mrs Brown's Boys star Brendan O'Carroll.

The life and times of another famous James, Joyce, has been written by acclaimed novelist Roddy Doyle and narrated by actor Gabriel Byrne.

As people walk past the statues, newly erected plaques will encourage them to use their smartphone to swipe a QR code or access a weblink.

If they do this, they will get a 'call back' on their phone from well-known actors such as O'Carroll, Peter Coonan and Ruth Negga.

The 'Talking Statues' are funded by Fáilte Ireland and were developed by non-profits arts organisation Sing London, which has worked on similar projects in cities including London, Manchester and Leeds.

The initiative was launched yesterday by Fáilte Ireland and the Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Labour councillor Áine Clancy, at the GPO.

Keelin Fagan from Fáilte Ireland said: "Dublin’s Talking Statues are being animated in an innovative, engaging and surprising way that serves only to deepen the visitor's experience while in Dublin."

Further statues across Dublin are being considered for animation next year.

The statue of James Joyce in Dublin has been brought to life through the 'Talking Statues' pilot project. From left: Collette Hiller, Sing London; Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Aine Clancy; and Keelin Fagan from Failte Ireland

Actor Brendan O'Carroll has written and narrated the script for the statue of James Connolly. Picture by Stephen Perry

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