In November we had the launch of a leaflet detailing the search for the Buddha’s origins, which Garter Lane has restored and placed outside its theatre building. A short talk by researcher Clare Scott with Anthony Costine , who kick-started the project.
“In the corner of the garden of the old Garter Lane Arts Centre, in the shade of an unlikely palm tree, a marble Buddha statue stood for many decades. Its head, broken from its body, merely balanced on its shoulders, its lidded gaze directed downwards, a long-fingered hand resting on its chest. Mottled with lichen, its graceful lines were camouflaged within the encroaching forest of weeds. Completely unseen was the inscription on the granite base in which it stood: ‘Guadama Buddha 1898. Most assumed it was a garden ornament and while others thought it might be something more, its provenance has been difficult to establish. “This is the story of a 19th-century Burmese Buddha statue and how it may have come to be in Waterford.
The Buddha, a long part of the garden at the original Garter Lane building, was cleaned and restored in 2022. It will be returned to the garden when renovations of the old building are complete. Dr. Abundius d’Abreu, originally from India, practiced medicine in the Waterford Infirmary from 1927 until the late 1960s. He was well known for championing radium treatment for the poor. His connection to the Buddha statue is likely but cannot be confirmed. He is buried in Ballygunner.