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Tag Archives: Aidan Harte

Lenihan pitches for Púca after Ennistymon says no

THE hunt is on for a new location for the controversial Púca statue, after it was rejected in a public poll by the people of Ennistymon.  Interest has already been expressed by leading folklorist Eddie Lenihan who has been a long-time champion of the half-man, half-horse sculpture. The Crusheen man said his own village would make the ideal location, given its legendary links to the mercurial character reputed to lure people into all kinds of nocturnal adventures. “We have a place named Cathair an Phúca and there is a roundabout there,” the story-teller said. “What could be more appropriate? It’s an amazing coincidence really and maybe this is where the Púca was meant to be all along.” It remains to be see if Crusheen will fit the bill for the new location for the 2-metre high bronze figure, as Clare County Council announced its intention to find it an alternative home, somewhere in North Clare. Following a survey, which attracted …

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Púca statue will not be placed in Ennistymon, Council decides

CLARE County Council has announced that the controversial Púca statue commissioned for Ennistymon will not now be erected in the north Clare town. The local authority issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon that following extensive consultation with elected members and the local community, it would not be proceeding with the proposal to erect the Púca artwork in Ennistymon. Instead, the sculpture created by Aidan Harte is to be offered to other north Clare towns, villages and community-operated tourism sites. An expressions of interest process will be announced shortly by the council. The statue had divided opinion in Ennistymon and around Clare and prompted the council to undertake a survey in November 2021 to garner local opinion on the artwork and its proposed location. More than 720 survey responses were received by the local authority with 43.6% of respondents saying they ‘Really disliked’ the artwork compared to 34.3% who ‘Really liked’ it. While many disliked both the artwork itself and its …

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Púca creator is ‘hopeful’ ahead of council decision

THE creator of the controversial Púca of Ennistymon has called on Clare County Council to stand behind its Arts Office who commissioned the proposed sculpture. Ahead of a review of a public consultation process, Aidan Harte, told The Champion he remains hopeful the council will back his proposals. “I think the council were slightly wrong-footed by the controversy, but there was a transparent public tender process and I think the council now need to defend the robustness of that,” he said. The preferred design was publicised last May, but within a matter of days, the public art project was ‘paused’ due to considerable local opposition. The 2-metre sculpture, proposed for Lower Church Hill, generated intense controversy at local and national level. Despite some strong opposition, the proposed half-man, half-horse secured the backing of a number of celebrities, historians, artists and folklorists, podcasters and documentary makers. The local authority has now confirmed that a consultation survey is now being examined with …

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Puca artist says Clare council’s emoji-based survey will benefit naysayers

THE creator of the controversial Púca statue has expressed concerns that a Council online survey over the artwork “will give the naysayers an effective veto”, writes Gordon Deegan. Aidan Harte was commenting after Clare County Council launched the online survey to get the views mainly of the people of Ennistymon as to whether the Púca should be installed in the north Clare town. In launching the survey that comprises five questions about the Púca and its location, the Council state that its results “will guide Clare County Council and Fáilte Ireland in a final decision in relation to the proposed artwork”. In May of this year, the project was paused after a local outcry including parish priest, Fr Willie Cummins denouncing the bronze two metre high Púca from the altar at Sunday mass. The Council survey includes an option for participants to say how much they like or dislike the Púca by sliding a smiley face across a page. If …

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Púca to remain paused until autumn

Council focus on helping tourism industry restart THE Púca of Ennistymon is likely to remain ‘on pause’ over the summer months, The Champion has learned. Following significant local opposition, plans to erect the two-metre sculpture on Lower Church Hill, were temporarily shelved earlier this month. In reply to a query from this newspaper, a spokesperson said, “It is likely that the status of this pause will be in place until at least the autumn because the priority at present is to support the local tourism industry with their reopening efforts, ahead of this summer season.” The local authority also confirmed receipt of a petition of opposition. An online petition under the heading of ‘The People of Ennistymon say NO to the Puca statue’, gathered 263 signatures before it closed on Friday last. Many signatories highlighted concerns over the lack of public consultation, and over the nature of the sculpture itself. One comment said: “The statue has no relevance to the …

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Debate rages over Púca of Ennistymon

WHILE plans for a landmark sculpture in Ennistymon have been paused, there has been no let-up in the debate over the proposed Púca. In recent days, celebrities, artists, historians, folklorists and an MEP have weighed in, in support of Aidan Harte’s proposals for a 2metre high half-man, half-horse on Lower Church Hill. Opposition to the bronze structure has also ramped up in recent days with an online petition under the heading of ‘The People of Ennistymon say NO to the Puca statue’. As of Wednesday lunchtime, it had gathered 244 signatures and is set to be forwarded to Clare County Council by the end of the week. Offers of alternative accommodation for the statue have come from all over Ireland, with folklorist Eddie Lenihan proposing that Crusheen might provide a suitable home. “It may not be the púca as portrayed in Irish folk tradition, but it is a fine piece of sculpture nonetheless,” he said. “Crusheen has grown enormously in …

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Púca paused but division remains in Ennistymon

Senator calls on committee to explain its rationale in selecting controversial sculpture THE committee who chose a controversial public sculpture for Ennistymon have been called on to come forward and make a statement on the row that has erupted over the plan. Senator Martin Conway, a native of the town, insisted the proposed Púca of Ennistymon, a mythical half-man, half horse, must be “consigned to history”. The two-metre high sculpture was chosen for a site at the bottom of Church Hill, after an open competition, as part of a significant upgrade to the streetscape of the town. The artist who won the commission, Aidan Harte, told The Champion he believes the piece meets the brief of creating an “out-of-the-ordinary” piece that will entice visitors to stop and spend time in Ennistymon. However, anger at a perceived lack of public consultation and objections to the design, prompted Clare County Council to announce the pausing of the project. Senator Conway has now …

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A wonderful time for GAA in Gort

HAVING players from one’s club involved with the county panel on All-Ireland final day heightens the interest within the club, Gort club chairman John Quinn believes but he equally holds the view that being involved in the All-Ireland final means as much to the clubs that don’t have a player on the panel. “Having club members involved creates additional interest and gives a connection with what is going on. It also creates a problem with the distribution of tickets, which is a challenge as well and it’s a nice problem to have. It is a policy in our club that members will be looked after first, in particular working members who are active in the club week in and week out. It would be the right thing to do to distribute the tickets amongst the grassroots of a club.” Aidan Harte and Greg Lally from Gort are part of the Galway senior panel this year, Jack Grealish is a member …

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