Enchanting sculpture to remember and reflect in Laurencetown

FROM the mythical Children of Lir to the memory of a famous poetic father, Laurencetown is now host to an enchanting sculpture which it is hoped may attract tourists from far and wide.

Born from the ideas of local youths aged from 14 to 17 years old, the Love and Contemplation seat will be placed outside the area’s community centre as a reminder of the area’s most cherished residents and a welcome to all who visit the Laurencetown, Lenaderg and Tullylish communities.

Commissioned from a £24,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund Young Roots project, the seat was sculpted by Darren Sutton who took six months to bring it to completion, using the input of a group of 25 young people taking part in the two-year scheme.

The chair was created after the felling of a 150-year-old tree in the grounds of the community centre inspired an idea from local teens to build a lasting legacy referencing the area’s important heritage.

The seat, finished with a bog-oak effect, will be installed near the community centre, which is the site the felled tree held at the old school for more than a century.

The sculpture features an intricate series of characters and symbols, focusing on things the teenagers felt were most important to the area.

A rose on seat’s grand back is in memory of Michaela McAreavey, who had been due to move into the area with her new husband Tullylish footballer John but tragically died on honeymoon last year.

Project co-ordinator Anne Murphy said the rose symbolises the qualities Michaela had and the important role she had come to play in the community.

Anne further explained that the teenagers had worked tirelessly to delve into their area’s history and are very proud of the finished product.

“This is something that can be viewed and enjoyed by everyone in the local community,” said Anne.

“And it is all the more special because it has been created from the ideas and hard work of many of the local young people here who have been very enthusiastic about the Rings of Times project.

“It is great for them to see the fruits of their labour and thoughts.”

Beginning at the top of the chair, two swans from Irish folklore “The Children of Lir” stand tall, and below a scroll sets out the name of the village.

A relief of Tullyish-born John Butler Yeats, artist, poet and father of W.B Yeats is also incorporated.

Finishing off the front of the chair is “The Claddagh”, encased in Celtic Knot work - a symbol of love, loyalty and friendship.

The back of the sculpture features characters from famous myths and legends.

Anne said the area’s residents have high hopes the chair may become a popular tourist attraction.

“This was created as a seat of reflection and we hope it serves the area well,” she said. “But it is also a real tribute to the area’s historical importance and we are happy that anyone who come to visit the Laurencetown, Lenaderg and Tullylish area can find out more about those who have lived here and the importance we place on remembering them.”