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New sculpture a perfect fit

JJ Counihan, left, Tidy Towns committee member; with Barry Wrafter, sculptor; Gerry Murphy, committee member and Noel Crowley, Tidy Towns chairman, with the Sisters of Mercy sculpture at Arthur’s Row, Ennis. Photograph by Declan MonaghanTHE latest addition to the Ennis Sculpture Initiative was unveiled in the town this week. The work of art, sponsored by Ennis Tidy Towns, has fitted in so well to its new location that many passers-by weren’t even aware that it was a new addition to the town.

Noel Crowley, Ennis Tidy Towns chairman, said, “I’ve been standing here over the past couple of days and people have been passing and asking themselves, has it always been there? A lot of people think it has been here all along and that’s a great endorsement.”
The sculpture, by local artist Barry Wrafter, commemorates the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy to Ennis in 1854. It is situated in an archway in the lane between the Friary and Arthur’s Row, near the Temple Gate Hotel.
The piece, created from polished white marble, depicts two of the ‘Seven Works of Mercy’ performed by the Sisters.
Noel explained, “Two of the acts of the Sisters of Mercy were to clothe the naked and give drink to the thirsty. That can be seen in the sculpture, where the Sister of Mercy has wrapped the child with a warm garment and is pouring water into the bowl the girl holds in her hands.
“Ennis Tidy Towns have sponsored this particular piece and really it is in commemoration of Mother Catherine McAuley and the inspiration she gave by giving up her fortune to help the poor. The Sisters came to Ennis in 1854 to work with the poor here and I believe that sentiment is very appropriate at the moment. We badly need inspiration right now.”
He described the location as a “natural home” for the work of art. “It is a very historic area and of course the whole idea of the sculpture trail is that we have small, narrow streets here in Ennis and people would just come upon sculptures rather than be pointed towards them. These works definitely enhance the town.”
Mr Wrafter said the work proved to be a bit of a challenge for him, although he is delighted with the results.
“Because of the depth of the space where the sculpture was being placed, it was kind of difficult to figure out the dimensions but I used some visual tricks. I spent about four or five months working on it and I’m very happy with how it came out,” he said.
The Ennis Sculpture Initiative has installed numerous sculptures along the riverside in Ennis, as well as creating street furniture in the town centre. The sculpture trail takes many forms, depicting cultural, historical and sporting events as well as more abstract pieces.


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