Hibernia: Irish
U.N. Sculpture

Martin Cullen, T.D., and Arrival sculptor John Behan.

By Irish America Staff
October / November 2000

The United Nations recently received a sculpture from the Irish government. The work, by renowned Galway artist John Behan, celebrates the Irish diaspora and their contribution to the world.

Entitled Arrival, the work portrays Irish emigrants debarking from a ship. If this sounds like a typical Famine commemoration, it’s not. As the Irish Minister of State at the Department of Finance Martin Cullen pointed out, it commemorates a “confident Irish people still coming into America, or wherever they may be going into the world.” It is an expression of Ireland’s newfound confidence.

The idea grew out of a visit Irish government officials made to the United Nations, where they observed sculptures donated by various countries. When they asked where the sculpture from Ireland was, they were informed there wasn’t one.

Cullen and Behan up close and personal with Arrival.

The site for the pieces is ideal, along the northern edge of the U.N.’s public sculpture garden on the banks of the East River, it will appear as though the boat had just docked there.

Cast from 12 tons of bronze, Arrival is the largest bronze casting ever made in Ireland. Standing approximately 26 feet by 26 feet, the piece was installed in September. Prime Minister Bertie Ahern will be on hand for the formal unveiling on November 30.

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