Thursday, 25 July 2019

A sculpture on Red Island
honours Skerries title
as Ireland’s tidiest town

Shane Holland’s sculpture on Red Island celebrates Skerries winning the Tidy Towns Competition in 2016 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Patrick Comerford

As I walked around Red Island in Skerries earlier this week, I saw for the first time a new sculpture by the sculptor Shane Holland. This new sculpture on the seafront at Red Island was commissioned to celebrate Skerries winning the Tidy Towns Competition in 2016, and was unveiled on 11 December 2017.

The sculpture was commissioned by Skerries Tidy Towns who approached Shane Holland to design a suitable piece to acknowledge Skerries being named as Ireland’s Tidiest Town in 2016.

This is a permanent, marine-grade structure that people in Skerries hope is going to become a landmark for the town. The project was co-funded by Fingal County Council, and the commission was supported by 13 local organisations and businesses from Fingal, Meath, Limerick and Dublin.

The sculpture is located on council land between the car park and the playground, just six metres from the seafront. This location made the installation challenging, and at times the site works were almost blown into the sea during Storm Ophelia.

This 4.3 metre sculpture on Red Island is based on the National Tidy Towns Trophy, originally designed by Shane Holland in 2006. It is made in marine-grade stainless steel, designed to be hard-wearing and withstand the wear from its close proximity to the sea and from natural grange limestone that comes from near Newgrange, Co Meath, and that was supplied by James Gogarty.

One of four swipe-like prongs represents the theme of Plant Life (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

The sculpture has four swipe-like prongs extending from the central base, each with a pattern representing four separate themes: Water, Plant Life, Heritage and the Built Environment or architecture. Each swipe reaches for the sky on the headland of Red Island.

Walkers are invited to sit on the limestone plinth. The piece also features 12 lights that make it visible from the sea as well as to people passing by on land and on the beach.

The plinth is surrounded by five metres of concentric limestone cobbles expertly laid by Anthony Kelly from neighbouring Rush.

The structure weighs about five tonnes, including the five metres of cobblestone that surrounds it.

Shane Holland designs many high-profile trophies for national events, including the RTÉ Sports Star Awards. He lives in Skerries and runs his workshop in Duleek Business Park near Drogheda.

His works have been exported across the world and are sought after by collectors of lighting, furniture and sculpture. He has been involved in previous Skerries projects, including the Pole Sea Memorial and works at the Community Centre and Skerries Harps GAA Club.

One of four swipe-like prongs represents the theme of Heritage (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

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