Thomas Davis returns!

195 years ago a young Thomas Davis relocated to Dublin with his mother, and last Thursday he returned. Well, strictly speaking a statue of him returned! It’s not known how Davis travelled to the capital in 1818, but last week he arrived in a van, admittedly a Mercedes van. The statue, which will grace the new civic plaza in front of the Clock House from next summer, was lying prone in the back of the van when it was driven into the council yard at the back of the Town Hall, and present to welcome it were members of the local Thomas Davis Commem-oration Committee who were getting their first up-close look at the statue of Mallow’s most famous son. All agreed it was a fine memorial to the great man, but it was also a very heavy object, and the next job was getting it out of the van and into storage.

So they stood and looked for a bit, then looked a bit more. Ropes were procured and tied, though Acting Mayor Dan Joe Fitzger-ald’s chain of office was surplus to requirements. A trolley from the nearby supermarket was procured but wasn’t suitable, so they all pitched in and lifted the statue out of the van, and the great man was levered into an upright position. Standing, he looked a fine specimen and there followed a photographic session with everyone posing for a pic. That wasn’t getting him off the van, however, so it was decided to lower him onto his back again, but not before wrapping him in a blanket which left him looking like he was going to do some early trick or treating. Once flat, the crowd gathered around, grabbed ropes and hauled him from the truck, his head banging off the edge as he exited. Now he was on the ground and the next step was to get him into the store, so up they lifted him again, the Acting Mayor lending his help, while Cllr Ronan Sheehan led from the front, much like he did during his Mallow GAA playing days. Cllr Kennedy is a loss to the foreman industry, as he guided operations with aplomb (“up a bit, left, left, mind his head!”), while Margaret Desmond was weak with laughter at the 11 people manhandling the great Thomas Davis towards the door of the store. The font where Davis was baptised almost 200 years ago was a stone’s throw away in St James’ Church but a tongue-in-cheek suggestion to haul the statue over there for another blessing got no traction at all from the perspiring statue movers, who hauled on the ropes again and lifted Davis head-first through the door of the store and deposited him in the corner. Job done, more photos were taken, and the composer of ‘A Nation Once Again’ will stay in storage until next summer when he will be unveiled in all his glory in the new civic plaza. Hopefully he will be happy in front of the Clock House; the pigeons will certainly like him, and hopefully he will not suffer the fate of the last memorial that stood in that location, the Little Man in the Fountain, who was knocked from his perch by a lorry in the 1960s and lay gathering cobwebs in a council shed for decades before being given a new home in Spa Park.