Tourist Information Dublin

James Larkin Statue, Dublin

James (also known as Big Jim) Larkin, (21 January 1876 to 30 January 1947), was an Irish trade union leader and socialist activist, born to Irish parents in Liverpool in 1875. He and his family later moved to a small cottage in County Down. He grew up in poverty and so received little formal education He began working while still a child and became a full-time trade union organiser in 1905.

In early 1913, Larkin achieved some successes in industrial disputes in Dublin involving frequent recourse to sympathetic strikes and boycotting of goods. His main targets were The Guinness Brewery and the Dublin United Tramway Company. Both had unions for skilled workers, but Larkin wanted to unionise the unskilled workers as well.

The statue of James Larkin stands on O'Connell Street in Dublin. The inscription on the monument is an extract in French, Irish and English from one of his famous speeches:

"Les grands ne sont grands que parce que nous sommes à genoux: Levons-nous.
Ní uasal aon uasal ach sinne bheith íseal: Éirímis.
The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise."

On the west side of the monument is a quotation from the poem Jim Larkin by Patrick Kavanagh:
"And Tyranny trampled them in Dublin's gutter
Until Jim Larkin came along and cried
The call of Freedom and the call of Pride
And Slavery crept to its hands and knees
And Nineteen Thirteen cheered from out the utter
Degradation of their miseries."

On the east side of the base of the monument there is a quotation from Drums under the Windows by Sean O'Casey:
"...He talked to the workers, spoke as only Jim Larkin could speak, not for an assignation with peace, dark obedience, or placid resignation, but trumpet-tongued of resistance to wrong, discontent with leering poverty, and defiance of any power strutting out to stand in the way of their march onward."

A road in Clontarf, North Dublin, is named after James Larkin.

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O'Connell Street,
Dublin 1,

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