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March 23, 2010

New Landmark on the Curragh

Fionn Mac Cumhail and his Hounds The Curragh has a new landmark that has attracted public interest over the last week. Sculptures of Fionn Mac Cumhail and his Hounds, at Ballymany Roundabout (exit 12 of the M7 motorway), have drawn favourable comment according to Kildare County Council.

The figures, in Corten steel, are the work of Lynn Kirkham of the Greenmantle studio and were commissioned by the council’s arts service. The statue of a spear-wielding Fionn is five metres high while the hounds stand at three metres. Together they provide a powerful presence guarding the entrance to the Curragh and a link to Fionn’s reputed residence at the Hill of Allen.

Fionn Mac Cumhail and his HoundsLynn Kirkham’s work includes the woven ‘growing willow’ structures that can be seen at one of the roundabouts close to Kildare Village. She is well known for her traditional willow pieces and she also constructs artworks in a variety of media such as bronze, steel, concrete and reclaimed metal.

Fionn MacCumhaill and the Fianna are historical figures whose deeds and life stories have been embellished through time, myth and legend. There are many tales of their acts of bravery and magic. Accounts claim that they were the bravest, swiftest and strongest hunters and warriors who made the wild places of Ireland their demesne. Fionn, their last leader, was larger than life and always accompanied by his two hounds Bran and Sceolan who were said to be his nephews transformed into hunting dogs by evil sorcery.

The sculpture for the Curragh was commissioned as a significant landmark to celebrate Kildare’s colourful history and to acknowledge the military presence in the county since earliest times. It will take pride of place in the planned public art and heritage trail for Newbridge. The trail will include works by local and international artists who have sited works in the town.