Press Release: Kickstarter Campaign to See a Maud Gonne Statue in Dublin

London, UK: July 8th 2024 – EMBARGO: 22 JULY 2024

A group of writers and readers, artists and historians are to launch an international campaign to see a street statue of Irish activist and actor Maud Gonne erected in Dublin. Entitled More Than A Muse, Phase One of the campaign launches on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter on July 22, 2024 and runs to August 10th.

This grassroots campaign is being led by by Irish-born, UK-resident novelist and poet Orna Ross, founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, and a dedicated group from various creative and scholarly fields, supported by a network that includes biographers of Gonne: Kim Bendheim, Adrian Frazier and Margaret Ward. The campaign also enjoys the backing of Gonne's descendants, including the family of John MacBride.

Gonne (1866-1953) is famously remembered as the muse of poet WB Yeats but she inspired many other men and women with her presence and work, and was always more than a muse. A lifelong champion of Irish independence and the rights of women and prisoners, workers and children, she was a controversial figure during her lifetime, and since, but her positive impact on Irish culture and society is undeniable, and was extended into the arena of international human rights through her influence on her son Seán, co-founder of Amnesty International. 

This campaign for a public commemorative monument seeks to celebrate Gonne’s legacy, to advocate for the recognition of women's achievements in public spaces, and to foster critical debate about the curation of memory, and remembrance, and missing history. 

As well as being a reminder of her enduring legacy, a statue of Maud Gonne will underscore the crucial roles women have played in shaping the city’s heritage, and the campaign will actively engage with the politics of commemoration, as begun during Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries by grassroots groups like Waking the Feminists.

Currently, Dublin’s public statues predominantly honour men, with only five statues in the whole city representing historical women. Additionally:

  • Only 27 of the 936 streets in the city centre are named after women, mostly saints and English queens.
  • All three primary train stations, Heuston, Connolly, and Pearse, are named after men
  • No park in Dublin bears the name of a woman.

 Sources: Simon Tierney; Wikipedia

“Exactly 100 years ago, at the end of the Irish Civil War, at age 57 Gonne began a period of sustained work against undemocratic forces emerging in the new Irish Free State,” says Orna Ross, “This is work we need to know about today but so much of what she did and said was vilified, ridiculed, or overlooked in her lifetime and afterwards by unsympathetic readings. She was a woman ahead of her time who inspired so many people, not just WB Yeats. His viewpoint as a disappointed admirer has distorted how she has been seen. Only now can we see her true place in history.”

Kickstarter Campaign Launch

Phase One of the campaign officially launches on Kickstarter on July 22nd 2024, inviting backers to purchase art and literature rewards at varying levels, which include original artwork and prints from artist Emma Stroude, events at the Yeats Summer School and Rosnaree House in Ireland in 2025, and an exclusive hardback edition of Orna Ross’s upcoming novel A Life Before, a coming-of-age story about Maud Gonne and WB Yeats.

Emma Stroude, renowned for portraits of Maud Gonne that concentrate on themes of courage, determination and fearlessness, has created an artist's impression of a statue for use during this phase. “These are not a blueprint for the actual statue but images to inspire the campaign and help raise funds,” says Stroude. She has produced two original drawings, and a limited number of signed prints, depicting an older Maud Gonne, clad in her trademark black outfit and veil, with her beloved dog Dagda walking alongside. 

“Our ideal would be to have the finalised statue marching down the pedestrian aisle of O’Connell towards the south side, where she lived,” says Orna Ross. “This is the direction that today’s protest marches take. It would be wonderful to have our ‘Maud’ walking in solidarity with today’s activists, making that all-important link between past and present. Many of the issues Maud Gonne fought for so devotedly have yet to be resolved.”

All profits from the Kickstarter will directly fund the establishment of the statue campaign and its implementation. A social media account @MaudGonneMacBride in which Maud Gonne “speaks” about Irish and international political questions is also to be set up in this phase, as part of the educational dimension of the campaign. 

Interested parties can learn more and support the project by signing up for a reward on Kickstarter


More information:


For media inquiries, interview requests, or additional information, please contact: 

Shanaya Wagh, Publishing Manager, Orna Ross Publications.


Phone: +44 7459562252