Thomas Curry (Sculptor)
Thomas Curry was born c.1821 and lived his life in Bridge St. Navan. His parents Charles Curry, a stone mason, his wife Mary and their 7 children are recorded in the 1821 census of Navan town (which survived the fire in the Four Courts in 1922).
In the 1901 census his occupation is recorded as a builder, and in the 1911 census he describes his occupaion as "stonemason". In 1911, according the census, he was living in Bridge St. with his neice Mary Anne aged 58.
The Curry family house was situated just beside the archway at the end of Bridge St. Navan which was intended to span the Boyne Navigation to Trim. (below right). This arch gave Bridge St. its name, and it was under this archway that Thomas Curry carried out his monumental work as a sculptor.
Dean Cogan appealed for a patron for young Thomas Curry as he has "carved a very beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin, which at present ornaments the pleasure grounds of the Diocesan Seminary". This statue can be clearly seen in the O'Growney Memorial Volume 1904, and on a map of the Academy Street area in 1862.
Sometime around the time of the removal of the St. Finian's Seminary to Mullingar in 1908, the Curry statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was moved to the grounds of the Sisters of Mercy convent in Athlumney.
Today it can be seen in the grounds of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Navan, presented by the Sisters of Mercy to the parish in 2006. (below left)
Photos: © Navan & District Historical Society)
Apart from the statue of Our Lady mentioned above, in 1862, Thomas Curry carved a statue of the Crucifixation and presented it to St. Mary's Church where today it can be seen on the Trimgate St. side of the church. (above right) (Photo: © N & DHS)
"The hammer and ladder are chiselled with great taste and the whole presents an object of surprising interest" (Cogan).
The reverse of the statue contains a Stabat Mater.
Note the statue of the Our Lady located behind it.
This work was a labour of love and it took him 2 years to complete in his spare time. This cross is remarkable, as Thomas Curry was self educated and never attended art school. His signature at the base of the cross is illustrated below.
(Photos: © Navan & District Historical Society)
Thomas Curry also sculpted the original statue of St Patrick on the Hill of Tara.
His brother William Curry (d.1894) was a contractor, and the builder of the belfry of St. Mary's Catholic Church in 1861.
Thomas Curry died in May 1911, shortly after the census of that year was recorded, but his age is uncertain. His signature on the 1911 census form is shown above. He is recorded in the 1901 census as aged 70, but in the 1911 census, ten years later, his age has advanced to 90! His death notice in the Meath Chronicle puts his age at 87. (below)
He is buried in the family plot in old Athlumney Graveyard,
as is his brother William.
Census 1901 & 1911
The Diocese of Meath Ancient and Modern, Dean Anthony Cogan
Vincent Mulvany unpublished research.