Limerick Civic Trust restores monument of Olympic legend

Elaine Holmes

Reporter:

Elaine Holmes

Limerick Civic Trust restores monument of Olympic legend

The monument which has been restored by Limerick City Trust

A MONUMENT in memory of Limerick's world record-breaking weight thrower and former Olympian John O'Grady has been restored by Limerick Civic Trust.

He was Limerick's first ever Olympic athlete to compete for Ireland and was also the first ever flag-bearer of an Irish Olympic team. He represented Ireland in the 1924 Olympics held in Paris, in which he ranked at 17th place in the shot put event with a distance of 12.75m.

David O’Brien, CEO of Limerick Civic Trust, said that they were "delighted” to restore the monument to its former glory. This was after the top part of the monument, which was damaged and dislodged, was found by a local resident, who then handed it over to members of the Limerick Civic Trust. 

Mr O’Brien also said that the Trust “have so many unique monuments and features” in their midst and that “it’s important that they are protected and remain attractive”.

“So many people drive and walk by this monument every day not knowing why it’s there.

“I hope this project will somehow help shine the light on one of our forgotten heroes,” he added.

The Trust - a non-profit making voluntary society - not only restored the monument, but cleaned the entire structure and its surrounding area also.

The Trust was formed in 1983 and is mainly supported through donations from local government, industry, business, and individuals.

Their main goal is to protect and enhance Limerick’s heritage and environment through conservation and preservation, by improving civic amenities and also through education and research.

 It also undertakes projects that make local places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive for the community, with the aim of promoting civic pride.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the group chose to "throw their weight" behind restoring the O’Grady monument.

The monument, which is located at the Fairgreen, commemorates the Olympic legend, who was originally from Ballybricken.

Mr O'Grady also worked as a rates book inspector for the Limerick City Council before he died in 1934.

The inscription on the monument reads:

Erected by his admirers in proud memory of John O Grady World Champion Weight Thrower born at Ballybricken, Co. Limerick 17th Feb 1892. Died at Limerick 26th Nov 1934. He worthily upheld Ireland’s Athletic prestige and endeared himself to all by his loveable character and simple bearing."