The unveiling of the bust, by Castleblayney based sculptor Yoram Drori

A bronze bust of a Belfast-born united Irishman Henry Joy McCracken, wrought by Blayney based sculptor, who runs the Irish Celtic Art Studio in the Castleblayney Enterprise Centre, has been unveiled in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin. The sculpture was revealed to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Henry Joy McCracken.

 

The Belfast Presbyterian cotton manufacturer had a leading role at the Battle of Antrim in the 1798 rebellion.

He was a leading member of the Society of United Irishmen, established in Belfast in October 1791. It aimed to include members of all religious denominations in the unrepresentative Irish Parliament.

McCracken was detained in Kilmainham Gaol for two years before being released in early-1798, having suffered sustained ill-health.

After his release, he went on to lead the insurgents in at the Battle of Antrim in June that year. The mainly Ulster Scots rebels were defeated by the English forces. Although he initially escaped, a chance encounter with men who recognised him from his cotton business led to his arrest.

He was offered clemency if he testified against other United Irishmen leaders, but refused. He was court-martialled and hanged at Corn Market in Belfast in July 1798, aged 30.

 

Yoram Drori has created many sculpture impressions of the Proclamation signatories of the Easter 1916 Rising, and his work received close attention during last year’s centenary commemorations of that seminal event in the formation of the modern Irish state. Yoram

came to Ireland 1992 and managed his own school of traditional Irish art, craft and culture with 21 other teachers at the Galway Craft Centre, where he taught the skills of Irish traditional design and wood carving. He now operates the Irish Celtic Art Studio in the Castleblayney Enterprise Centre and the company in the past has received awards for Best Traditional Gift at the Spring fair and RDS Showcase in Dublin.