Lonely Planet Writer

Visitors to Dublin can take calls from statues of famous historical figures

If you visit Dublin, you will now be able to take a call from well-known Dublin statues such as Oscar Wilde, Cú Chullain, James Joyce and George Bernard Shaw. Fáilte Ireland has launched this new initiative called Dublin’s Talking Statues,  and it uses drama, humour and technology to breathe new life into Dublin’s statues.

Stephen Brennan voiced the statue of the George Bernard Shaw talking statue. Image: Fennell Photography

The project animates ten statues that are a mix of important historical figures, contemporary art figures and famous Dublin characters. As visitors 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 where a well-known actor will recite a specially written monologue, giving a voice to the statue in question. Each monologue is designed to bring the stories of the statues, and of Dublin itself, to life.

The Talking Statue of James Joyce on North Earl Street in Dublin. Image by Failte Ireland

The words were written by an assortment of esteemed Irish writers, including scriptwriter Rachel Kilfeather, Irish poet and playwright, Paula Meehan and comedic writers Arthur Mathews and Roddy Doyle. Comedian Brendan O’Carroll both wrote and narrates the story of political leader, James Connolly, while other stories are narrated by actors Brendan Gleeson, Brenda Fricker, Stephen Rea, Gabriel Byrne, Ruth Negga, Peter Coonan and Stephen Brennan.

Peter Coonan and Stephen Brennan at the Failte Ireland Talking Statues recordings. Image: Fennell Photography

The ten statues now animated across Dublin are part of a pilot programme with further statues being considered for animation in 2018.  “Talking Statues is a great idea and this pilot scheme, engaging so many of Ireland’s great writers and performers, will give it the opportunity, I hope, to grow and flourish,” said Ray Yeats of Dublin City Council.

Find out more about the project at www.talkingstatuesdublin.ie.