Sackville Place was the site of two of the four bomb attacks that took place in Dublin between late 1972 and early 1973, and near the junction with Marlborough Street, there’s a memorial to the three men who died on the street: George Bradshaw and Thomas Duffy on 1st December 1972, and Tommy Douglas on 20th January 1973. The sculpture is set into the pavement and represents a scattered bunch of flowers, produced in consultation with the deceased’s families (the sculptor, Thomas Duffy, was born several months after his father was killed in December 1972) as a more permanent version of the wreaths they were laying at the site. It was commissioned by CIE (Bradshaw and Duffy’s employers at the time of their deaths) and Dublin City Council, and dedicated in 2004.
It’s quite affecting to notice something so pretty and detailed underfoot, set into a field of plain granite paving slabs – the soft gleam stands out from the utterly ordinary context. There are disadvantages to this ordinariness, with some staining visible around the sculpture, but Dublin’s paving is so much less visually cluttered than the city at eye-level that it gains a lot in visibility. That, and there’s an appropriate solemnity in the scattering gesture.