McHugh monument - Sligo Poets

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A monument in memory of the late P. A. McHugh (1859-1909), owner of the Sligo Champion, Mayor of Sligo and MP for North Sligo, was erected in a prominent position outside the Post Office in Sligo town in 1916.

The monument was officially dedicated on Sunday 29 October.
John Redmond, the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party attended and spoke but the statue was actually unveiled by John Jinks, Mayor of Sligo, who had been the prime mover in having it erected.The statue was later moved to its present position in front of Sligo Town Hall.

P.A. McHugh's son, Alfred, was the proprietor and editor of the Sligo Champion in 1916 and it was no suprise that the newspaper gave the story full page coverage. The  newspaper published three poems on the topic in the following issue.

John O'Dowd, MP for South Sligo, one of McHugh's most loyal followers took an extra week to respond in verse. His poem did get prominence on the front page of that issue.

The life-size figure of McHugh
, in Cararra marble, is the work of sculptor, Joseph Hanrahan, North Strand, Dublin. The lower base is of Newry granite and the upper base is of Ballisodare limestone. Anthony Scott, Dublin, architect, designed the monument. The grotesque carving at the top of the pedestal is the work of Shortall, Dublin, possibly Michael J. Shortall. The foundation stone had been laid on St Patrick's Day 1912.

Above: Photograph of the statue from Sligo and its Surroundings, Kilgannon.

Sligo Champion
4 November 1916

        IN MEMORIAM.

Lines sympathetically addressed to the family, friends, and relations of the much-lamented P. A. McHugh.

He is gone, he has left us for ever,
His loss we must daily deplore,
That patriot son of old Breffini,
The brave Pat McHugh is no more.
For Ireland he fought true and manly
In days that are now passed away,
His mem’ry we still fondly cherish,
His soul is in heaven I pray.

He is sleeping to-day in old Ireland,
His friends they all miss him I know,
And sweet bards of Sligo and Leitrim
Lament for their chieftain laid low.
In the days of his childhood, oppression
Was rife in our dear native land,
But the brave Pat McHugh in his manhood
Soon helped to crush tyranny’s hand.

For loving his dear native country
Poor Patrick was cast into jail
And left there in charge of oppressors
Who longed for the blood of the Gael.
To-day dear old Ireland will mourn
For one who was loyal and true,
There is grief in Roscommon and Leitrim
Brave Patrick Aloysius for you.

The friends that you left here in Sligo
Are all sad and lonely to-day,
For old Ireland is still badly treated
And freedom has not come our way.
Farewell, dearest Patrick, for ever,
Your suffering for Ireland was great,
And a monument now is erected
Your mem’ry to perpetuate.

To his family, friends, and relations
Our sympathy now e we extend;
In the struggle for dear Irish freedom
Our country has lost a good friend.
Oh, never again shall ye meet him,
That patriot valiant and true,
He has gone, he has left us for ever,
The brave and unconquered McHugh.
                               M. J. KEARNS.

Boyle (late of Geevagh.)

      P. A. McHugh, M.P.
(Written on the occasion of the unveiling of his Statue.)

The bravest of the brave he was,
Our own P. A. McHugh;
Of Ireland’s sons the very best,—
The truest of the true.

All Nationalists who pass this spot
Will know that standing here
They have a gallant Irishman
Who never knew of fear.

When Farmers pass along this way
Their feelings will be shown,¬—
Here is the champion of their rights
Who made their cause his own.

The Labourers will pass along,
And when a glance they cast,—
Here is the man who toiled for them
In harness to the last.

The Merchant and the Trader too
Will raise their hats and say,
“Here is the man who backed us up
In ev’ry legal way.”

When pompous Landlords motor past
They willingly will own it,—
“He fought us tooth and nail, but still
A generous opponent.”

The Poor will sadly stand and gaze
A sign of worth the surest,—
For all he had to Ireland went,
And he remained the poorest.

When children from the various streets
Come here to play and toddle,
Here is a man they well may take
To be their future model.

The Great and Mighty well may say,—
“We now admit it wholly,
He battled for the poor and weak,
The humble and the lowly.”

Ambitious men will look and ask
To what he owes his station,—
His loyalty to every cause
That helped the Irish nation.

Each Father now will take his son,
Upon this site to see him,—
There is the man who gave his life
And energies to free him.

Hosts of friends will pass this way,—
His foes grew few and fewer,—
No better friend had ever lived,
No stauncher friend or truer.

A trusted Leader, tried and true,
Who with the People sided;
Their aspirations, every one,
Were all to him confided.

The idol of a race oppressed
Who for their rights persisted,
The greatest of all Sligomen
Who ever yet existed.

In admiration and in love
This statue now we view,
Erected here in Sligo Town
To Great P. A. McHugh.

in London Notes. J. F Cunningham.



Mr. John O’Rourke of Dromahair, has dedicated the following song to the SLIGO CHAMPION in loving memory of the late P. A. McHugh, M. P., and we may add that it is only one of the many national and other songs he is compiling and has almost prepared for publishing in book form.

All Leitrim down to Sligo town
In sorrow deep are here to-day,
Old Sligo dear has lost its cheer
Since its loved friend has passed away.
Those counties brave their fond love gave
To him now dead, to him so true,
But now to-day fond love makes way
For grief for you, P. A. McHugh.

He feared no foe, O! no, friends, no,
His noble soul did never yield,
His pen and press, his bold address,
Combined, these were his battle shield.
The landlord race he did efface,
Its hellish deeds exposed to view,
Old juries packed he did distract,
He scourged them all—P. A. McHugh.

At Dromahir, with lordly air,
Although proclaimed, his meet he held,
On Bonet’s banks he broke the ranks,
His prowess there was ne’er excelled,
In Ballymote he doffed his coat,
Then massive doors he sledged them through
“Who dared oppose, who dared to close
Our Council hall?” said bold McHugh.

The poor man’s guide, the farmer’s guide,
’Twas by their said he bravely stood,
And when distressed or hard oppressed
He gave to them his counsel good;
’Twas to the throng he did belong,
And to the poor he so well knew,
For everywhere you’ll hear its prayer—
“God save your soul, P. A. McHugh.”

Unite, said he, for liberty,
And for the sake of Motherland,
Forgive, forget, come now and let
Us grasp as brothers each right hand;
Support he League, the old Land League,
That won bright happy homes for you,
To Redmond John let us hold on
Those were the last words of McHugh.

Far o’er the sea our exiles free
Are grieving for our missing guide,
Most sincerely their sympathy
Come sighing o’er the foaming tide.
They do regret and can’t forget
The prison torture he went through,
For Cranmore Jail, Kilmainham stale
Oft shot their bolts on our McHugh.

Farewell, fond friend, till death does end
Our sorrows here, for your demise,
’Tis then we’ll meet, ’tis then we’ll greet
You in that home beyond the skies.
Your statue may, through time decay,
And crumble into clay like you,
But your loved name shall live in fame,
Adieu, adieu, P. A. McHugh.

        Sligo Champion
     11 November 1916



I stand beside thy statue here,
Dead chieftain of this Western land!
And nature’s sad decrees demand,
The smothered sigh, the scalding tear.

If burning tears could but restore,
The lost one to our ranks again,
They’d be poured out like summer rain
From end to end of Erin’s shore.

This monument of sculptured stone,
Inanimate and cold as clay;
Recalls the form now pass’d away—
Reminds us of the spirit flown.

We see those features calm and lone,
Look down upon the passer by,
But, ah, we miss with moistened eye
The sunny smile that round them shone.

We miss the warm clasp of thy hand,
We miss the fire-flash of thine eye;
Which never quailed when storms raged high,
In the old fight for fatherland.

We miss that voice whose magic thrill,
Electrified his people here—
That voice which taught them persevere
For Ireland’s cause, for good or ill.

Yes, he is dead! No prison chain
Of tyrant mould can bind his soul,
Now Heaven has given him his goal—
When shall his like we see again.

When Knocknarea sinks ’neath the main,
With all its grottoes grim and grey,
When Sligo’s mountains swamps its bay,
Perhaps we’ll see his like again.

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