SHANE Geoghegan’s mother Mary and aunt Margaret Walsh unveiled a permanent display to the murdered rugby player in Limerick’s City Hall this Monday.
Joined by Mayor of Limerick Cllr Jim Long, Shane’s family launched a new display dedicated to him, and the art exhibition created in his name, that will sit permanently in City Hall’s “corridor of life”.
The images - collated into one decorative display unit - will hang on the wall in the reception area of Limerick City Council for all to see and, his aunt said, is a “powerful message that encompasses all the feelings for Shane”.
“Fun, tragedy, memory, loss and as well as that, it is like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, this is not going to grind us down, Limerick is our city, we love it and we want to proud of it,” said Margaret of the image, which details the Pitch for Shane installation that she painstakingly assembled last year. Over 20,000 people made small clay figurines in his name that the ceramicist assembled into a metaphorical pitch in his honour, and which were put on display in Istabraq Hall in the building.
“Shane loved what Limerick stood for, he loved rugby, and he was part of that, and this is a tribute to him. His good humour, his democratic ethos with which he treated everybody - you couldn’t be unhappy around him and that is what we want this to signify,” she added.
Shane’s mother Mary smiled and said she thought the display was “beautiful”.
Cllr Long, coming to the end of his term as mayor, said the display was “there as a permanent reminder that 20,000 people in Limerick voiced their opposition to violence in Limerick”.
“I think it is a fitting tribute to actually put it on permanent display here. This is the actual corridor of life in Limerick’s City Hall, why shouldn’t we display this permanent memory of a wonderful man, who should be still with us today,” he said.
“This is the public hub of Limerick City Council, anyone that wants to can come in, and it is fitting that it would be here,” he added.
It would have been impossible to keep all 20,000 figurines on display in City Hall and the image is intended to remember the exhibition.
The display marks the “significant pieces” created by Shane’s brother Anthony and his work and rugby colleagues, but Margaret said all of them were important.
“Every one of them are important because without any one, it wouldn’t be what it is, it marks the togetherness of Limerick,” she said.
Some of the figures remain on display in the window of the old ACC building on O’Connell Street and the intention is to reproduce a similar image to that unveiled in City Hall to accompany the figures.
Ms Walsh said that the rest would be “sensitively recycled”, while others will be put into a time capsule in honour of the terracotta warriors who inspired the Pitch for Shane project.
“Who knows, in the future we might have these mini-terracotta warriors unearthed somewhere else,” added Margaret.