Above: Pictured with the Giant from left to right are: Patricia Canniffe, Dermot Collins, and Denis Murphy, who were all delighted with the new installation.
A lifesize replica of Patrick Cotter-O’Brien (1760-1806), ‘The Giant of Kinsale’, perforated in 2mm stainless steel, was recently presented to The Kinsale Museum by local engineering company Graepels Perforators and Weavers.
Patrick Cotter O’Brien, who was born in Kinsale, was the first of only 13 people in medical history to stand at a verified height of eight feet (2.44 m) or more. His real name was Patrick Cotter and he adopted O’Brien as his stage name in the sideshow circus. He was also known as the ‘Bristol Giant’ and the ‘Irish Giant’.
It is believed he died from the effects of the disease gigantism.
No hearse could be found to accommodate his 9’4” casket, which was encased in lead, and his remains were borne to the grave by relays of 14 men. In his will, Cotter left £2,000 to his mother and a request that his body be entombed within 12 feet of solid rock to prevent exhumation for scientific or medical research.
In 1972 his remains were examined and it was determined that, while alive, he stood approximately 8’1” tall. This made him the tallest person ever at that time, a record that would be surpassed by the next ‘eight-footer’, John Rogan, who died almost a century later. Patrick Cotter’s giant boots are on display in the Kinsale Museum.
“I have been fascinated by the Giant of Kinsale ever since I visited the Museum as a child on a Primary School Tour, from Kinsale Primary School,” says Fred Graepel, Managing Director of Graepels Perforators and Weavers. “I was eight at the time and I was fascinated by the size of his chair, knife and fork, his slippers and his boots. I have never lost that fascination and have never forgotten how wondrous it all was to me as a small boy.”