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Tag Archives: Púca of Ennistymon

Púca finds his stable in North Clare at Michael Cusack Centre

AFTER more than 15 months filled with controversy, debate, recrimination, appeals and public votes, the most notorious sculpture this side of Michelangelo’s David has settled into its forever home. The Púca, sculpted by Aidan Harte, and originally intended for the town of Ennistymon, was unveiled this afternoon at the Michael Cusack Centre, the birthplace of the founder of the GAA. The Burren community in North Clare gathered at the Carron facility for the official unveiling of the Púca, which has famously been rejected by Ennistymon, after a backlash in the town over what objectors said was a lack of public consultation. A public vote held online by Clare County Council ultimately led to Ennistymon saying no to the artwork, and the local authority seeking expressions of interests from other entities and communities in north Clare to give the Púca a home. Harte, who was commissioned by the Arts Office of Clare County Council to produce the artwork, said, “I want …

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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 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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Exclusive: Púca artist hopeful he can win Clare town over

THE artist involved in a controversial public sculpture commission for Ennistymon has insisted there is nothing malevolent about his proposed Púca, and that it has real potential to attract and engage visitors, writes Fiona McGarry. Aidan Harte told The Champion that despite the Council’s decision to pause the project in response to public objections, he is hopeful that people will come to appreciate the design of the 2m high artwork. Mr Harte, who has studied sculpture in Florence in Italy, has told Clare County Council he is fully prepared to visit Ennistymon to engage with local people. “We can’t railroad or ignore people’s views,” he said. “This piece certainly isn’t disrespectful. Art is a matter of taste and I can understand that people don’t want art they don’t like, but this is an impressive piece when you see it in the flesh. “I think people will come to appreciate the craft that is involved. I’m more than willing to come …

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