World War II Irish hero given a landmark public memorial
The statue of Father Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, the Irish priest credited with saving the lives of 6,500 Jews and Allied escapees in Rome during the Second World War, will shortly be unveiled in his hometown.
The memorial, created to become a landmark in the popular tourist town of Killarney, County Kerry will reportedly be unveiled on October 30.
Currently sculptor Alan Ryan Hall is said to be completing the work in his studio in Valentia, County Kerry. A Killarney committee commenced the project five years ago and twenty five submissions were ultimately considered before Hall's was picked.
Committee chairman Jerry O’Grady told the press: 'We were immediately struck by the energy and incredible reality of Alan’s proposal and are thrilled with the final outcome. From the moment that the full-scale clay model was sculpted, we were impressed by the superb quality of the piece.'
The project is entirely dependent on public and corporate donations and help from Kerry County Council and Killarney Town Council.
Several books have been written and films made about the legendary Irish monsignor who helped an estimated 6,500 Jews and Allied escapees flee Nazi-occupied Rome.
According to the Irish Examiner, the unveiling will be part of a week-long program of events held in Killarney, which will reportedly include the premiere of a new one-man show about the monsignor’s life called God Has No Country, by the Killarney- born playwright Donal Courtney.
To underscore O'Flaherty's legacy the fifth annual international O’Flaherty humanitarian award will also be presented posthumously to the late Donal Walsh, the Tralee teenager who fundraised for cancer treatment and suicide awareness
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