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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019

'A terrible piece of vandalism': Beloved Cork dog trough has vanished after 60 years

The famous stone dog bowl was built for Corkonian canines.

124 Patrick Street, Cork City
124 Patrick Street, Cork City
Image: Google Maps

ONE OF CORK City’s sculptures has vanished from the spot in which it stood for over 60 years in what one local representative has branded “a horrific act of cultural vandalism.”

The city’s public ‘dog trough’ bearing the Irish word for dogs ‘Madraí’ was sculpted by Seamus Murphy to provide water for the city’s parched canines. 

Set into the pavement at the base of the now-vacant shopfront at 124 Patrick Street, the stone water trough was commissioned by Knolley Stokes, owner of the Old Bridge Restaurant who ensured staff filled it with water each day for the city’s dogs. 

Local independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said he was alerted to the trough’s disappearance from Patrick Street by a constituent this morning. 

The stone dog trough is a beloved “local, quirky oddity”, according to McCarthy, who says the matter has been reported to the Gardaí and who has since spoken with the city’s Conservation Officer. 

In recent years, he says, the city’s heritage has come under threat from thieves. 

“There’s been a couple of historical plaques that have gone missing over the last few years. I think they’re being sold on the international market.”

McCarthy fears that the famous dog trough has also been stolen.

In the 1970s, the trough came under the ownership of Cork Corporation, now Cork City Council but it has been empty for several years. Its sculptor Murphy (1907-1975) is best known for his design of Blackpool Church in Cork.

“There’s a lot of affection among Corkonians for it,” said McCarthy.

When people come to the city and look for city sculptures, this is one that’s always visited. It’s a terrible piece of vandalism.

Cork City Council said that An Garda Siochána have been informed and are investigating the theft.

Cork City Council Heritage Officer Niamh Twomey is appealing for the safe return of the piece. She asked members of the public to contact Anglesea St Garda Station or Cork City Council Heritage Office if they have any information on the sculpture’s whereabouts or if they see the item for sale.

“Our overriding concern is that this item is returned safely as this is a significant piece of Cork city’s heritage, created by the sculptor Seamus Murphy. It is held in great affection by many Corkonians. It really is a great loss and every effort needs to be made to retrieve it and return it to its rightful place,” she said.

Anglesea Street Garda Station can be contacted on 021 4522000, while Niamh Twomey is on 021 4924018. An Garda Síochána have been contacted for comment. 

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