WHEN work began to renovate the Christ the King statue in Gort Square, locals were heard to comment, “He’s getting released from jail!”
The Burren Lowlands Group had commissioned local architect Brent Mostert to develop a vision of the statue as a focal point in a rejuvenated square. He began by removing the worn iron railings around the statue base, which were replaced with cut limestone paving.
Jethro Sheen of Sheen Stone-Works Gort carried out the work and his fine craftsmanship has been remarked upon.
This serves to enhance the monument to allow for seating and a more open plan aspect. Already residents and visitors can be seen sitting and talking at the base. In phase two of the renovations, seating and planters will be installed.
The railings will be commissioned to another area of the town, perhaps along the proposed riverwalk for all to enjoy.
As the main market town for the Burren Lowlands region, the Burren Lowlands Group is delighted with the result and acknowledge the efforts of all involved in the project. Supporters include Joe Byrne, who coordinated with Galway County Council; local councillors and Gort Credit Union, as well as Teresa Butler, Mairin Doody, conservation officer; Feidlheim McGillycuddy, Gort area engineer and Pat Finn and the local Fas team.
The monument was erected in 1932 by Eileen Coen, to honour her son, Mattie, who died in a tragic road accident and is an iconic landmark in Gort Market Square.
The refurbishment of the monument gives a boost to the positive image of the town, as it welcomes the news that Failte Ireland’s Burren Discovery Trail will be coming though Gort in 2020.
The Burren Lowlands volunteer-led tourist office is in the adjacent weigh house. The volunteers hope to be on hand to welcome visitors whenever they can travel once more.