HE megalithic era comes to comtemporary Galway in the coming weeks as a soft sculpture of the iconic Poulnabrone Dolmen makes its way around the Aughty Region stretching from Gort to Woodford and Loughrea.
The sculpture is part of a public art project, curated and managed by Dr Áine Phillips, head of sculpture at the Burren College of Art, where the three exhibiting artists involved studied.
The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen by Jim Ricks is a giant inflatable sculpture designed for members of the public, of all ages, to interact with and bounce on.
The artwork will be touring venues around the Aughty Region during August and September. This is part of a new series of public art works in the area, commissioned by Galway County Council.
The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen is a replica, at twice the scale, of the famous 5,000-year-old megalithic portal tomb of the same name, which is located in the Burren.
The artist created the interactive soft sculpture with the intention of bringing a portal dolmen to Aughty, a region which has no dolmens, only wedge tombs.
The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen’s debut appearance will be at Kylebrack Woods, Loughrea outside the Hill Bar on Saturday, August 28 from 4.30 to 6pm. People of all ages are invited to view, discuss and bounce on the bouncy dolmen for the afternoon.
The event is part of The National Heritage Week’s events in Galway. There will also be a Tóraíocht Taisce or treasure hunt and Bio Blitz in the woods for children from 3.30pm to 5pm on the same day. The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen will also be at Portumna Castle as part of Shoreline’s Arts Festival on September 19.
A second part of this public art exhibition involves Emma Houlihan, who is taking part in the Aughty Walk: Rural Futures which is a week-long hike through the region’s upland bogs and mountainous landscape.
Emma Houlihan leaves from The Heritage Centre Woodford on Monday at 10am and will sweep around the Aughtys, taking in Scalp, Cappaghabaun Mountain, Flagmount, Derrybrien, Cashlaundrumlahan and Killnadeema. She then finishes in Woodford again on Saturday, August 28, where the artist will join up with the Dúshlán Ard Aoibhinn National Heritage Week walk to the highest summit in the Aughty Region.
During her Aughty walk, Emma will record the conversations and exchanges she encounters. She will host two evenings for talk and exchanges. On Wednesday, when she arrives in Derrybrien, she will meet with locals, visitors and friends at 7pm in Egan’s Pub. The following Saturday, she will attend Moran’s Pub in Woodford at 7pm to meet and hear about Emma’s journey, watch a slide show from the Aughty walk and listen to music from céile.
Marie Connole’s Weed or Knotweed? is a series of drawings and a paper sculpture installation based on the proliferating Japanese Knotweed plant.
Based on metaphor of being transplanted or a blow-in to or from the region, her research for the project has involved contacting many people from the Aughtys, who have travelled around the world and asking them to send home postcards home. Her completed sculpture will be exhibited in the Woodford Library and Woodford Heritage Centre in December alongside the works of two other artists involved in the Public Art Commission, whose work will be exhibited in Woodford Library and Woodford Heritage Centre from December 2 to 17.
More information on the project can be found on www.aughty.org.