The monument was a gift of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, an Irish-American charitable group founded in 1783 in New York. They commissioned the American sculptor Dennis B. Sheahan to create the bust. It was the first monument that had to obtain approval from members of both the National Academy of Design and the Society of American Architects, a vetting process the Park’s administrators instituted to evaluate artworks gifted to the Park.
The sculpture was unveiled in 1880 on the 101st anniversary of Moore’s birth. At the ceremony, Mayor Cooper noted that Moore was entering the pantheon of cultural icons already memorialized in the Park, including the English author William Shakespeare, the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, and the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt. Like these monuments, the monument to Thomas Moore was funded by an immigrant group seeking to represent their cultural heritage within the landscape of the nation’s first major public park.