Seán Dixon completed this sketch after the Oblate Fathers in Inchicore commissioned him to paint a portrait of Matt Talbot.
Regarded as the Patron Saint of dipsomaniacs, Talbot was an alcoholic until a sudden and permanent reformation at 28. After taking a vow of abstinence, the Dublin labourer devoted the rest of his life to work and prayer, leading a harsh ascetic existence of self-deprivation and punishment.
When he was found dead on a Dublin street in 1925, Talbot’s body was covered in chains that must have caused acute pain. A statue of the pious northsider can be found next to the city’s Talbot Memorial Bridge.
With thanks to Pierce Tynan
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