July 2

Published in On this Day listing

  • 1900

    Above: Thomas Farrell’s sculpture of William Dargan outside the National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square.

    Thomas Farrell (73), sculptor, died. A forgotten man nowadays, Farrell’s works include statues of Archbishops Murray and Cullen in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral, Archbishop Richard Whately and coastguard hero John McNeill Boyd in St Patrick’s Cathedral, William Dargan outside the National Gallery, and no less than two statues on O’Connell Street—Sir John Gray, owner/editor of the Freeman’s Journal, carved entirely of white Sicilian marble and unveiled in 1879, and another of the rebel leader and later nationalist elder statesman William Smith O’Brien, unveiled in 1870. And he might have had a third: he was favourite amongst the applicants for a memorial to Daniel O’Connell, but that commission went instead to John Henry Foley. He was subsequently honoured by his peers and the State. Elected president of the RHA (Royal Hibernian Academy), the first sculptor to hold that office, he was conferred with a knighthood the following year. Yet Farrell studiously avoided the limelight. An extremely shy man, he seldom attended public events, and on one occasion actually fled from an unveiling ceremony. Living in his later years in Redesdale House, Kilmacud, once the residence of the aforementioned Archbishop Whately, along with two brothers and a sister (all, like himself, unmarried), his later years were overshadowed by poverty; his income was always modest and he won fewer commissions as he grew older. His funeral to Glasnevin was a private affair in compliance with his wish that his passing would not be made public until three days after it occurred, so as to avoid ‘a public display’. A year after his death, a fund was set up to support his surviving siblings.

  • 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Civil Rights Act, a landmark in civil rights legislation in the United States, was passed.
  • 1970 Catholic bishops announce it is no longer obligatory to abstain from meat on Fridays.

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