Outside St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral stands a bronze sculpture of the Dublin Martyrs, Mayor Francis Taylor and his grandmother-in-law Mayoress Margaret Ball.
Known as "Murdered Mayors" or officially as "The Dublin Martyrs" Mayoress Margaret Ball (nee Birmingham) and Mayor Francis Taylor.
These two martyrs, a lay woman and a lay man, were among a representative group of martyrs of the 16th and 17th centuries beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22nd September 1992.
Margaret Ball: died in prison in Dublin 1584
Born Margaret Bermingham about 1515 in Skreen, Co Meath, she married Bartholomew Ball, a prosperous merchant in Dublin. Her eldest son, Walter, however, became a Protestant and an opponent of the Catholic faith. Margaret provided 'safe houses' for bishops and priests passing through Dublin and would invite Walter to dine with them, hoping for his reconversion.
Walter was elected Mayor of Dublin. He had his mother arrested and drawn through the streets, on a wooden hurdle, as she could no longer walk, to Dublin Castle. Here she remained imprisoned for the rest of her life. If she had renounced her faith she could have returned home, but she refused and died in prison aged 70 in 1584.
Francis Taylor of Swords, layman, Mayor of Dublin: died in prison 1621
Francis Taylor was born into a wealthy Catholic family in Swords about 1550. In 1595 he was elected Lord Mayor of Dublin. A convinced Catholic, he refused to accept the Acts of Supremacy (Monarch is the head of the Church) and Uniformity (The Book of Common Prayer is the only legal form of worship and all must attend services). He was put in prison in 1614 in the reign of James I and remained there until he died seven years later. He is said to be buried in the family grave in St Audeon's Church.