Armagh Rail Disaster Commission

Armagh City Council seek submissions for new sculpture in memory of the 89 people killed on June 12, 1889

Armagh City and District Council is seeking proposals from artists/suitably qualified/experienced practitioners for the creation of a new sculpture to mark the 125th anniversary of the Armagh Rail Disaster.


The new sculpture is to be situated on the Mall, Armagh City and installed by the beginning of June 2014 at the latest. The total fee for the commission is £25,000. This is a single stage commission and no fee will be paid for submitting proposals and concepts.

One of Armagh’s darkest days, the Armagh Rail Disaster, is to be remembered in a new sculpture, 125 years on. 89 people died and 400 were injured on June 12, 1889, when a Sunday School excursion to Warrenpoint ended in what still remains the fourth worst rail disaster ever to have taken place in Europe.

Surprisingly few people in Northern Ireland are aware of the disaster, but at the time it was world news and described more recently as a ‘Victorian 9/11 at the height of the golden age of railways’. The tragedy sent Armagh City into deep mourning then and for decades after, when hardly a house escaped death or injury.

The list of the dead published at the time show that this was a very working class disaster, and one that cut short the lives of many young people – more than half those killed were under 20. The names of all 89 victims will appear on a new sculpture that Armagh City Council hope will be unveiled on the 125th anniversary of the disaster on June 12, 2014.

The new sculpture is be situated on the Mall at Armagh City and Malcolm Dawson, spokesperson for the Mall Trustees has said: 'The Mall Trustees are delighted that the new sculpture is to be given a prominent place on the Mall, which we believe is also one of the greatest civic spaces in Northern Ireland.

'We believe the sculpture will be very much embraced by local people who have remembered the tragedy down through the years, and will be glad now that there will be a physical memorial that will help convey the tragedy to people outside Armagh and the many visitors who come to our city each year.'

Artists interested in applying for the new sculpture commission can download the brief at Advertised as a single stage commission, the deadline for receipt of proposals and concepts is 4pm on Thursday, December 19, 2013. The Artists Commission Fee for the new Sculpture is £25,000.