Help protect Deirdre Kelly’s memorial in Ranelagh’s Triangle from Dublin City Council vote
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A memorial to our late mother and sister, Deirdre Kelly, was erected in Ranelagh in 2009. Deirdre Kelly was a radical environmental activist and a founder member of the Living City Group. She was involved with many campaigns to save Dublin’s architectural heritage. She also authored 'Four Roads to Dublin', the History of Rathmines, Ranelagh and Leeson Street.
A motion is being put before Dublin City Council’s South Area Meeting on Monday 8th of January. The motion reads
"Motion 1 from Councillor Chris Andrews:
That this committee agrees that the names of Padraig Pearse, Willie Pearse, ThomasMcDonagh and Con Colbert be placed on the three new granite bench seats being placed in position at the triangle in Ranelagh village in view of the fact that Pearse's first school, Cullenswood House, was top of Oakley Road (100 yards away) and the four were all teachers at the school and were executed for their part in the 1916 Rising (Padraig Pearse, Willie Pearse, Thomas McDonagh and Con Colbert), all of whom lived in Ranelagh."
As a family we feel this is an insult to memory of our late mother, and, not taking away from the contribution that these men made to the county, we feel that should this motion go ahead it will dillute the contribution she made to the area and to the city of Dublin.
The memorial included an area where a triangular monument was erected to her, and featured a plaque with the following quote: -
"Wherever one walks, one is conscious that these are living streets, steeped not just in their own history but woven into the history of Dublin. Writers and musicians, unionists and nationalists, scientists, poets and artists lived and still do - in the houses which line these streets"
Earlier this year we met with representatives of Dublin City Council, architects, planners and other environmental representatives, to discuss a response to the concerns of the family, residents of Ranelagh and other interested parties who had complained over the years about the condition of the memorial And site. As a family, we were embarrassed and angry over the way the monument was allowed to deteriorate. The memorial has now been replaced with three granite benches, with the quote from Deirdre's book inscribed on a triangular slab at the centre of the benches. We feel this is far more fitting with the surrounding environment, and will stand the test of time.
We find it incongruous that this memorial should also be used as a commemoration to three heroic men involved in the 1916 Uprising, who, although well worthy, are immemorially commemorated in recent history elsewhere.
During her lifetime Deirdre was relentlessly committed to retaining what was left of a living city, she 'held out a candle for the city in one of it's darkest periods' (quote from Frank McDonald's obituary 'Irish Times' 26th February 2000). She sourced and challenged ALL planning applications by unscrupulous speculators and developers in the 70's 80's and 90's, without the resources of the Internet, and succeeded in stalling the decline of community environments in Dublin. She authored books which are now considered definitive histories of Dublin.
Surely the memorial erected to her and paid for by the citizens of Dublin, be what it was intended to be - hers?
To quote Cllr Mary Freehill “It is a rare occasion that a woman’s work is recognised; by dedicating these small benches to different people dilutes her contribution’’
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