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Newport’s Grace statues get go ahead


CONNECTION TO BE CELEBTRATED American actress Grace Kelly, who became Princess of Monaco by marrying Prince Rainier III in April 1956.

Anton McNulty

Bronze statues of two famous Graces associated with Newport will be erected in the west Mayo town after planning permission was granted by Mayo County Council.
Earlier this year, the Newport Business Association revealed plans to promote the historic connections between Newport and two famous Graces – the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley and former Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly – by erecting two bronze statues of the iconic Grace’s in the town.
The association wish to market Newport as ‘the town of the two Graces’, which it hopes will lead to a boost in tourism and increased in revenue for the town.
Two separate planning applications were lodged with Mayo County Council, one for a statue of Grace Kelly at Castlebar Street, close to the historic viaduct, and another of Grace O’Malley on Medlicott Street.
The bronze statue of Princess Grace, to be 1.3 metres in height, will depict her sitting on a bronze bench. It will be placed on a paved area close to the steps to the viaduct.
The statue of Grace O’Malley is to be located close to the junction of Medlicott Street and Melcombe Street on the green area close to the river bank. The site currently contains an old boat used by Newport Tidy Town as an ornamental flower bed. The plan is to replace this boat with a bronze sculpture depicting a standing Grace O’Malley, looking out from the bow of a ship.
Planning permission was recently granted by Mayo County Council for the two statues without any objections.

Extraordinary Graces
Princess Grace was born Grace Kelly in Philadelphia, the granddaughter of Newport native John Kelly. She was one of the most iconic Hollywood actresses of the 1950s. She married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956 and visited Newport on a number of occasions, and went to her ancestral home on the outskirts of the town.
On a trip to Mayo in 1979, Princess Grace made plans to build a holiday home in Newport, but the plans never came to fruition, as she was tragically killed in a road-traffic accident in 1982.
Her family continue to hold close ties with her ancestral home and her son, Prince Albert, visited Newport in an official capacity in 2011. The design of the statue has been approved by the royal family in Monaco.
Sixteenth-century pirate queen Grace O’Malley, known as Gráinne Mhaol (Grainuaile), has a historic connection with Newport and once owned and lived in nearby Rockfleet Castle.
The Newport Business Association stated that the cost to commission, deliver and install the two statues is €120,000, with 75 percent of the requisite funding to come from Leader and the remaining 25 percent to be raised through fundraising. The association has set up a fundraising campaign, and donations that can be made to its page on GoFundMe.com entitled ‘The Two Graces’.

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