Bust of Dr. Phillip J. Smyth

In 2007, David Wilkinson (Class of 1975) contacted a number of Alumni to commission a bust of former Director Jørgen Blum to commemorate his 28 years at the helm of Shannon College years.

Following the retirement of Phillip Smyth in 2022 after 34 years, David felt it was fitting to commemorate him in the same way. Since integrating with the University of Galway, our Head of School term of office is now going to be either a 4 year or 8 year term so there will not be a future commemoration for our Head of School in this format.

Thanks to fundraising started by David Wilkinson in Autumn 2023, we had raised 80% of the money required for the bust for Phillip Smyth. Following an appeal before Christmas, the balance of money was raised plus enough to purchase a bust of Dr Brendan O’Regan also.

When selecting a sculptor, Seamus Connolly had completed a statue of Dr Brendan O’Regan that was unveiled in Sixmilebridge in 2023, and we engaged him to produce the bust of Phillip. Whilst chatting with him we discovered that the Sixmilebridge Historical Society were fundraising to raise the profile of Brendan O’Regan in local schools and are campaigning to get his contribution to Irish tourism and enterprise included in the secondary school history curriculum. As part of this effort, they commissioned busts of Brendan O’Regan from Seamus based on the statue he created, and it was completely fitting that we include a bust of our Founder Brendan O’Regan for display in the College. This was possible due to the generosity and support of our alumni.

Gallery below features Seamus working on the bust right up to him pictured with Phillip at the unveiling

Unveiling the bust

The Sixmilebridge Historical Society who originally unveiled the statue of Dr Brendan O’Regan in Sixmilebridge last year, approached us about hosting the Dr Brendan O’Regan International Hedge School Discussion & Podcast in Shannon College On April 13th 2024. We were delighted to be associated with this event and felt it was an ideal time to unveil Phillip’s bust also.

We invited all alumni donors – however the date did not suit many but we still have a strong turnout. Also in attendance were Phillip’s family and friends as well as current and former college staff.

It was a lovely few hours which was followed by a really special afternoon Hedge School Discussion about Dr Brendan O’Regan – you can listen to the podcast >> HERE.

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