The Haunting Soldier


He is us. He is the common man, not linked to any race, politics and certainly not to the love of War.                                                                                                                Jo Oliver

As we commemorate the Centenary of the ending of the Great War in November the arrival of the towering giant bronze sculpture of The Haunting Soldier to Dublin’s St Stephens Green Park is one of the most powerful and fitting tributes to all those who served and fought and died during the Great War.

Sculptor and blacksmith Martin Galbany’s imposing six metre tall weathered and weary soldier made from scrap metal which towers over the park has attracted huge crowds, all falling silent under his tired gaze.

Designed and constructed at Dorset’s Forge and Fabrication by Martin and metal worker Chris Hannam, he is made up mostly of scrap metal with his uniform and kit and rifle and boots made up from wrenches, car jacks, spanners, hammers, tools, bellows, nuts and bolts and chains.

As you pass through the stone Fusilier Arch entrance to St Stephen’s Green it is a truly emotional experience to encounter him and to come face to face with this exceptional art piece.  There are no words to describe the emotions, sadness and sense of remembrance that he invokes as you study his eyes and face and every aspect of this haunting figure.

Huge thanks are due to Sabina Purcell, whose own family were involved in the Great War, for her determination to bring The Haunting Soldier to Dublin for the Centenary Commemoration of the ending of a War which claimed millions of lives. Thanks are also due to writer JO Oliver who first commissioned this unique sculpture and agreed to let it come to Dublin for the month of November.

A special Stand Down ceremony which is open to the public will be held in St Stephens Green at 3.15pm on Sunday 25th November 2018. As the sun goes down people will gather with a bugler, music and readings to say farewell to The Haunting Soldier before his return to England.