Bust of Willie Pearse on display in library

Wednesday, 17th February, 2016 1:44pm

Bust of Willie Pearse on display in library

A SCULPTURE of Willie Pearse, brother of patriot Patrick Pearse, is currently on display in Castlebar library.

It is believed to be the only bust of Willie, who was also executed for his part in the 1916 Rising, in existence.

The sculpture, by A.V. English, was presented to the county library by a gentleman called Festy Rabbette in memory of the Tourmakeady Flying Column (War of Independence).

Festy’s cousins were members of the Tourmakeady column which saw plenty of action during the fight for freedom.

Willie Pearse was a sculptor and worked in his father’s business, James Pearse and Sons.

The family’s work can be seen in a number of churches, including the Church of the Holy Rosary, Castlebar.

It is known that both Patrick and Willie were in Foxford when a new altar was installed in St. Michael’s Church in 1902.

Willie later taught art in his brother’s Scoil Eanna.

Patrick was a regular visitor to Mayo promoting the ideals of the Gaelic League.

After the 1916 surrender, Willie, who had served as Captain in the Irish Volunteers, was court-martialled and sentenced to death.

Although not one of the rebellion leaders, Willie was executed. It is believed that he received the death sentence because he was the brother of Patrick. He was executed in Kilmainham Jail on May 4, 1916.

Willie’s bust can be viewed during normal opening hours at Castlebar library. It has been placed closed to the library entrance. 

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