Seamus Murphy headstones are beautiful examples of stone carving, to these eyes at least. An encounter with an uncatalogued Seamus Murphy headstone is even more so.
There is the anticipation as you spot the thickness and shape of the stone from a distance. The serrated grooves to the edge face and return raise expectation. Getting nearer, the lettering (particularly if red) will have you nearly convinced.
After standing back to admire, then the search for the letter cutter’s signature is the confirmation that life is good. It is time to stand back, enjoy and appreciate – and then, just like those two early evening pints with a long lost friend who you just bumped into on the way home, leave happier and in a better space.
I have seen a few headstones by Seamus Murphy not in the Crawford Art Gallery book of his work, so they do exist. It was just that last Sunday morning, taking some me time strolling around Douglas Cemetery, I was not expecting to see such a headstone.
Just like pints – the unplanned meetings with headstones can be the best.
The above photographs were taken at the bottom of St Patrick’s Hill on the 24th May. When I saw the eastern side of the hill barricaded off, I did fear for the fate of the benchmark.
Benchmarks as a useful piece of data have long been replaced by GPS. As a mark on the fabric of the city recording how things were done in the past, they are a mark of history. I particularly liked this one as it was in the kerb on St. Patrick’s Hill. I have seen many on stone pillars, less in brickwork – on a kerb is very rare.
The photographs below were taken just 5 days later, on 29th May. The kerbs had all been removed. They have not returned since.
When demolition of the existing warehouse was being carried out in advance of the construction of 1, Albert Quay, I did ask as to whether the old fire cock sign might be available. I was told that it was being retained and was to be re-applied to the new building. It is now on the new building, complete with a new colour scheme.
It is as functional as a benchmark but its heritage value was appreciated by someone with decision making powers - thankfully
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