The Story Behind The Mysterious White Lady Statues of Dublin


There are certain places within Dublin, where if you look up you may find that someone is watching over you. She's quite a glamorous lady, with an air of mystery about her. She can be found on windowsills across the city, holding court, looking down over her domain. No she's not Molly Malone, or a stalker, she's an iconic white statue known as 'The Lady On The Rock'.


People of Dublin each have their own opinions of what she represents. Some claim she indicates areas where drugs are sold, or the location of a brothel. Others claim she has religious roots and that the statue pays homage to the Virgin Mary, with others theorising that it is a statue of Mary Magdalene. Another rumour has it that there was a shipwreck off the coast of Ireland, and that the lady symbolised in the statue was the only person to survive.

Ask anyone you encounter on the street and they'll probably have their own personal theory on it. One things for sure, Dublin is covered in them. There's even an art gallery on Wellington Quay named after her! But what's the story behind them, and how did she become the unofficial watch keeper of our fair city?


A young film maker by the name of Jessie Ward made a short film a few years ago, attempting to explain the phenomenon behind the mysterious statues. The story goes that in the early 90s a gentleman by the name of Mr.Gardiner had an image of the statue in his mind that he wanted to create, and employed the help of Edward Loughman to make the mould. From the outset, Mr. Gardiner mainly gave the statues to friends and family, before more and more people began requesting their own statues. Two years later, Loughman received a call from Mr. Gardiner's wife explaining that he had passed away and asking Loughman to clear out her husband's workshop. The mould then transferred hands to Loughman but remained unused until Vincent Doran of Dublin Mouldings spotted it in his workshop, and asked to buy it.


It's funny to think that the tradition of the statue's existence could too have been extinguished following the death of Mr.Gardiner. Yet to this day 'The Lady on the Rock' remains to be made and sold by Dublin Mouldings due to serendipitous happenings. 'The Lady On The Rock' is a popular gal about town, with strong Dublin roots, and a tradition I hope that will stick around for years to come.

Lady on the Rock from jessie ward on Vimeo.

Written By

Fíodhna Horan Murphy

Fíodhna is deputy editor of Lovin Dublin and the Lovin Group. She's mad into music, gigs, cans by the canal and anything leopard print.