ONE of Limerick’s most colourful and memorable characters has been immortalised in a giant street mural unveiled in the heart of her hometown.
Legendary Limerick lady, Dodo Reddan (1922-1995), whose real name was Hanora Quirke, was renowned for her two passions in life, her great love of dogs and rugby.
Limerick City and County Council has funded the mural which is located at Sráid an Ceoil, St John’s Pavilion in Limerick city centre and collaborated with Draw Out to bring to life the tribute to one of Limerick’s most recognisable people.
Draw Out selected artist Omin to complete the mural. He was selected as a result of his technical ability and larger than life approach to portraiture. His work is full of vibrancy, joy and humour.
Dodo was well known for her pram full of dogs. She rescued countless dozens of stray dogs throughout her life and had been caring for 24 dogs when she passed away following a short illness in September 1995.
Dodo’s other passion was rugby, and more specifically Young Munster RFC. She attended every game and was a regular at Thomond Park.
She became the club’s unofficial mascot, with her pram and dogs always festooned in the Cookies’ colours of black and amber.
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Michael Collins said: “Dodo Reddan was a cherished character in Limerick, known to all. Her drive and determination are legendary and I’m delighted that we are honouring her with this wonderful mural. To this day, Dodo Reddan is a name which causes the ears of any Limerick native or rugby fan to prick up, and she has now gone down in history”.
Cathaoirleach of the Limerick Metropolitan District Cllr Sarah Kiely has been at the forefront in getting the mural painted. She said: “This is another epic mural for our beautiful city with a much loved character we remember fondly, Dodo evokes so many memories for people in Limerick and it is fitting that we acknowledge one of our own.”
“Some people can do incredibly good things and sometimes it never gets attention, in the last few weeks while talking to Dodo’s family and people who knew her, they spoke about how she fed the homeless by night, took in stray dogs and was famous when it came to rugby.”
One of Dodo’s most memorable ventures was her journey to Lansdowne Road in Dublin, for the 1993 All-Ireland League Final between Young Munster RFC and St Mary’s College. The story goes that she had to travel in the goods compartment of the train with her pram-full of dogs as she was not allowed bring them into the passenger carriages.
Arriving in Dublin, no taxi or bus would carry her, so she walked her pram of dogs all the way to Lansdowne Road, arriving just in time to witness Young Munster’s historic victory. Many attendees at the match recount that the sight of Dodo and her dogs is one of the stand out memories of that historic day.
In addition to rescuing dogs, Dodo also supported those in need. She distributed food to the homeless, gave toys to the city’s poorest children, and spoke on many social issues at the time including animal welfare and proposed domestic water charges.
Dr Pippa Little, Culture and Arts Officer, Limerick City and County Council said: “Limerick City and County Council is very pleased to work in partnership with Draw Out, to bring the work of artist Omin to the people of Limerick. This mural honours Limerick’s much loved Dodo Reddan, animal rights activist and rugby supporter. The mural is a striking statement on one of the main entrances to the city, a bold and vivid tribute that celebrates her.”
Catherine O’Halloran, Creative Director with Draw Out, Limerick’s urban art initiative which has been managing the mural project. Catherine said: “Draw out are delighted to work with Limerick City and County Council and the Mayor and Cathaoirleach to produce a mural featuring such an iconic and unique female figure, as Dodo Reddan. We were excited to develop this concept and bring the mural to life in a way that truly reflected the essence of such a vibrant and compassionate character.”
“Our hope is that this work can do what only great portraits seem to master, reacquaint us with the magic of her spirit and inspire a new level of appreciation for a life so well lived”
Cathaoirleach Cllr Sarah Kiely added: “The Reddan family is very moved by the project. Dodo was a very intelligent lady who had exceptional hand writing, she didn’t suffer fools and spoke her mind, she is a positive role model and the mural is so bright and has given us something uplifting to look at in a time when people need a lift.”
“I’d like to thank Kevin McMahon and the committee in St John’s Pavilion who allowed this to be put on their wall, to Catherine and the team in Draw Out, the Council executive and Culture and Arts Office who supported this project and the artist Omin.”
“I’m just thrilled to get this over the line.”