Harry Ferguson statue takes flight from A1 to Hillsborough Forest

The first Irishman to ever build and fly his own plane is set to take to the air once again.

The statue in honour of the Co Down engineering genius Harry Ferguson (November 4, 1884 – October 25, 1960) will be relocated from the A1 to Hillsborough Forest Park, the council agreed.

The £120k half life-size bronze and stainless steel sculpture is currently located on the roundabout of the A1 dual carriageway under the Hillsborough flyover, giving the impression it’s in flight.

The forest park itself is undergoing a long term £2m regeneration programme with money from the council (£1m), the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (£1m) and the Department for Communities (£28k).

The statue in tribute to Harry Ferguson was erected at the side of the A1 dual carriageway in 2013

However, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Counil’s planning committee has voted to uplift the sculpture and move it into the forest park trail alongside other art sculptures to attract more tourists to engage with it.

Head of planning, Conor Hughes explained: “There is currently a lack of opportunity for people to visit and stop by off the A1 flyover. The aim is to move the sculpture into the forest where the plane landed in one of its inaugural flights (1909).

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“This will also bring about a better context amongst the other sculpture of local historical context.”

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A retrospective planning approval was also given in the same debate, for the relocation of the 7.5m high ‘Beacon of Light’ sculpture by 3.3m due to unsuitable topography and to assist the natural forest environment .

Vice-chair of planning, Cllr John Palmer said: “I would recommend the moving of the Harry Ferguson statue as people are passing it on the road from Newry and Dublin and they don’t know what it is,” said the Downshire West representative. “The move into the forest will create more of an attraction to the legacy of Harry Ferguson.”