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Council commissions 1916 artwork

THE centenary of the 1916 Rising will be commemorated with the installation of a €20,000 permanent artwork in Ennis, it has been confirmed.

Clare County Council have begun the process of commissioning the artwork, with a proposed location of Abbey Street. It is planned to place the new artwork adjacent to the 1916 memorial stone currently in place, which was installed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rising in 1966.

According to Clare County Council, it is envisaged that the artwork will “be inclusive of the Ireland 2016 themes: remembering, reconciling, presenting, imagining and celebrating”.

The local authority has explained that the artwork is being commissioned in response to the “great interest” in this period of history and the desire for Clare to play its part in the national commemoration.

“Taking into consideration the community’s response to the commemoration of 1916 Easter Rising through the consultation process undertaken by Clare County Council in 2015, it is evident that there is a great interest in this period of history in Clare. Local memories have survived, which now seek expression and through a year-long series of lectures, exhibitions, ceremonies and schools programmes, it is hoped that both adult and child alike will gain a knowledge and understanding of what 1916 was about, how it related to Clare and how it influenced what came after. There is a pride in the Irish flag, a pride in Irish identity and an earnest wish to display this pride and for the county to be part of the national commemoration,” stated Clare County Council.

An artist’s budget of €20,000 has been made available for the work. As well as the inclusion of the new art piece, a number of other works are planned for the site, according to Clare County Council.

It is proposed to insert a discreet railing where the riverside wall dips for safety and around the lower part of the site. Cleaning and repointing of the stones on the existing site are also to be carried out. It is planned to remove the existing flower beds to enable access to the site for those with mobility difficulties and to extend the paving with paving reclaimed from the upper area of the site. The existing light and surround is to be relocated, with provision available for possible ground lighting of the new artwork. Planting troughs for flowers are also to be introduced. The costs associated with these works are outside of the commission of €20,000.

Explaining the reasons for the planned location, the local authority outlines, “The location proposed for the new artwork is on Abbey Street, Ennis. As you view the site from the bridge end, the River Fergus and Rowan Tree café hostel is on your right and the 13th century Ennis Friary is across the road on the left. The area, therefore, is of significant historical importance. The 1916 memorial stone is located at the site and it is proposed to place the artwork on the triangular section above the 1916 memorial stone.”

The memorial stone already in place was installed in 1966. The stone carries the Triquetra symbol as part of the bronze emblem, An Claoimh Solais – the sword of light. Underneath the emblem on the bronze plaque is the inscription, In Onoir do Laochra na Casga, 1916, a throid agus a fuair bas as son na hEireann. This translates to, In honour of the warriors of Easter, 1916, who fought and died for Ireland. The site was developed using stones from all over the county, representing the involvement of all areas of Clare in the Easter Rising.

The deadline for artist’s proposals to Clare County Council for the commission is February 26 at 4pm.

A meeting for artists interested in submitting proposals for an artwork will take place on Monday at 11am at the site of the 1916 Memorial Stone on Abbey Street. To register for the site visit, contact the Arts Office at 065 6899091 or arts@clarelibrary.ie. Full details are available on the county council website.

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