The spirit of Thom McGinty returns to Dublin
“Thom McGinty’s gift is to mesmerise his audience, to lure them out of their busy selves and to take them away into that land of perfect stillness where marvellous dreams are as normal as Bewley’s sticky buns.”– Professor Brendan Kennelly
This exhibition celebrated the High King of Grafton Street. Actor, model and street-artist Thom McGinty was a living statue and a much-loved presence on the streets of our capital city. Most people knew him simply as the Diceman.
As a famous Dublin figure who was living with AIDS, Thom did much to challenge preconceptions about the disease, and his 1994 appearance on The Late Late Show was one of the most ground-breaking interviews in Irish television history.
Thom died at the age of 42 in 1995. Now, 25 years after his death, this exhibition celebrated the life and legacy of a man who became as synonymous with the streets of Dublin as Bang Bang.
Born in Scotland in 1952, Thom arrived in Dublin from Glasgow in 1976. Street performances became his forte. The name Diceman came from The Diceman games shop, one of many businesses that hired this stately mannequin to promote their goods in whatever fancy dress took his fancy.
As a street character, Thom McGinty belongs to a very old tradition, but he was a singular presence, and this exhibition has been created by some of his closest friends with access to the most intimate material. Part biography and part social history, it revealed the Dublin of the Diceman as a place with many rooms, full of great showmanship and quiet tragedy.
Curated by Robert O’Byrne, this remarkable exhibition introduced a new generation of civic-minded Dubliners, curious visitors and sundry exhibitionists to a great local story.