13th August 2020

New Statue of Captain Ahab Unveiled

Youghal received a new gem in it's collective crown with the unveiling of the new…

Youghal received a new gem in it’s collective crown with the unveiling of the new statue of Moby Dick’s archenemy Captain Ahab, who was forever immortalized in three-dimensional form standing with steel harpoon in hand on the square plinth casting his long shadow along the new quayside walkway.

It was a specially memorable day for the “Youghal 4 All Group” and the Irish sculptor Matthew Thompson who have worked on this project for over three years.

The sculpture represents Captain Ahab, the fictional character and one of the main protagonists in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick book. He is the monomaniacal captain of the whaling ship Pequod. On a previous voyage, the white whale Moby Dick bit off Ahab’s leg, and he now wears a prosthetic leg made out of whalebone. The whaling voyage of the Pequod ends up as a hunt for revenge on the whale, as Ahab forces the crew members to support his fanatical mission. When Moby Dick is finally sighted, Ahab’s hatred robs him of all caution, and the whale drags Ahab to the bottom of the sea.

The film ‘Moby Dick’ was partly filmed at the quayside in Youghal back in 1954 by the American legendary film director, John Huston, and a whole host of Hollywood stars like Gregory Peck and Richard Basehart.

John Houston chose the waterfront at Youghal to stand in for the whaling port of New Bedford, USA, that had once called itself “The City that Lit the World.”

Youghal made good use of its association with the film, with an imaginative yearly Moby Dick festival that features a huge rubber whale, seafood tasting, and fun competitions and activities on the Blackwater river

The €35,000 sculpture, designed and developed by Cloyne based artist Matthew Thompson, was funded by Cork County Council, the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme and by the fundraising efforts of local community group “Youghal 4 All”.

As a community we look forward to seeing that statue add extra value to our quayside for decades to come.

Article taken from Youghal Online


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