A statue of Hollywood star Maureen O’Hara has been removed within 48 hours of being installed at her adopted home in Glengarriff in West Cork after her sculptor asked the County Council to remove it due to online reviews, the council said.
Cork County Council has confirmed it has agreed to remove the life-size statue of O’Hara, who starred in The Quiet Man alongside John Wayne, after sculptor Don Cronin requested the statue be removed withdrawn due to the negative reviews it was generating.
“Cork County Council regrets that following persistent negative online comments about the installation, as reported by local and national media, the artist has indicated that he would prefer to remove the statue and refuse order,” the council said in a statement. .
“The council is troubled that inappropriate anonymous online comments have become a widespread and unfair way of responding to community projects such as this…And sincerely regrets the distress the artist and his family have experienced as a result of his participation in this project.
The council also said it was aware of the impact of what it described as “the online violation of the reputation of a well-known, respected and talented local artist” before defending Mr Cronin’s work which was installed at the end of April in the heart of the popular tourist village.
According to the council’s spokeswoman, he was satisfied that Mr Cronin’s bronze sculpture was “a good representation of a young Maureen O’Hara, had artistic value and was appropriate for installation in a public place”.
She said the idea for the statue came about following a request from the Glengarriff Tourism and Development Association asking the council to apply for funding under the Town and Village Renewal Program for a facility to life-size bronze art to commemorate O’Hara.
The group posted on their Visit Glengarriff page: “The statue was removed today. We don’t have any further information at this point, but we’ll let you know how our beloved Maureen will stay in the village long term.
According to the Irish Mirror, more than 1,000 people have posted comments on the statue – which was commissioned by Cork County Council at a cost of €33,000 – with many commentators criticizing the statue for the way it portrayed O’Hara.
One person called it an ‘insult to the people of Glengarriff’ and another called for it to be melted down and the process started over as the statue does it a ‘disservice’, while a third suggested that a bench with a plaque would be a more appropriate way to remember O’Hara in the village.
Originally from Ranelagh in Dublin, O’Hara trained at the Abbey Theater before settling in Hollywood in 1939 where she played in Alfred Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn with Charles Laughton, opposite whom she also played Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame which earned him a contract. with RKO Photos.
She was to have a long career in Hollywood, appearing in How Green was My Valley, The Black Swan, The Spanish Main and Sinbad the Sailor as well as the Christmas classic, Miracle on 34th Street and Rio Grande, opposite John Wayne.
But it was opposite Wayne in John Ford’s romantic comedy-drama The Quiet Man, filmed in Cong, Co Mayo in 1952, that won her over most with Irish audiences with her performance as fiery redhead Mary Kate. Danaher proving more than a match for Wayne’s Sean Thornton.
O’Hara began vacationing in Glengarriff and began spending more time there after her third husband, aviation pioneer Charles F Blair, died in a plane crash in 1978 and in 1984 she was organized a golf tournament in the West Cork village in his memory.
She moved permanently to Glengarriff in 2005 but in 2012 she returned to the United States to live with her grandson, and she died in her sleep at her home in Boise, Idaho on October 24, 2015, of natural causes at the age of 95.
The backlash to Mr Cronin’s statue of O’Hara comes after the sculptor received a positive response to several public commissions from Cork County Council, including that of a bull in Macroom.