Chariot of Life

Artist Name(s) Oisín Kelly
Artwork title Chariot of Life
Context/Background An iconic Oisín Kelly work, the Chariot of Life statue was commissioned by financier Michael Lucey who was responsible for the development of Irish Life Centre, in Lower Abbey Street in Dublin. The first development of its kind on the north side of the city, the first phase was completed in 1977, with the entire project finally realised in 1985. Chariot of Life was unveiled on 7th July 1982 by Dr Niall Crowley, then Chairman of Irish Life Assurance. Kelly died the year before, in 1981. 

Kelly's large copper-bronze sculpture depicts the figure of a charioteer said to represents reason controlling the emotions. It was unveiled in 1982, the year following the sculptor's death, on the Irish Life Centre plaza, on Dublin's Lower Abbey Street.


Oisín Kelly (1915 - 1981) was born Austin Kelly in Dublin, and worked as a teacher until he became artist in residence at the Kilkenny Design Centre in 1966. He initially attended night class at the National College of Art and studied under Henry Moore from 1948–1949.

At first Kelly made small wood carvings and early commissions were mostly for Catholic churches. He became well known after he was commissioned to do a sculpture, The Children of Lir (1964), for Parnell Square's Garden of Remembrance, which opened in 1966 on the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. More public commissions followed, including the statue of James Larkin on Dublin's O'Connell Street and Chariot of Life at the Irish Life Centre. 

The Life and Work of Oisín Kelly by Dr Fergus Kelly, Irish Arts Review


Commission Type Private Commission
Commissioner Name Irish Life
Commissioning process Private Commission
Project commission dates January 1, 1977 - July 7, 1982
Artform Visual Arts
Funded By Private
Budget Range 150000 - 250000 euro
Project commission start date 01/01/1977
Project commission end date 07/07/1982
Location Irish Life Centre, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.
County Dublin
Town Dublin
Street Address Irish Life Centre, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Anne Mullee



no news in this list.

more opportunities

Focus On



Nazareth Housing Association provides independent living houses for individuals and couples who are 65 and over and on the Sligo County Council housing list.  Nazareth Village is comprised of 48 houses in a garden setting.  The Village was financed as a public-private partnership between Nazareth Housing Association and Sligo County Council with funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.  

more about this article