Public art in Letterkenny
Letterkenny like many towns in Ireland has tried to improve its aesthetic appeal and commemorate its history and achievements by commissioning public art and monuments. Described below are examples of some of these.
The Polestar is a monument located on the Port Bridge Roundabout on the Derry Road. Its creator is a Derry man, Locky Morris. The project cost approximately €100,000. The site of the Polestar, on the Port Bridge Roundabout, has had an historic past where trade and goods were landed by boat and transported to the surrounding areas by rail and road. The monument is made of 104 timber poles and rises to a height of 12 metres. Its shape alludes to the outline of a boat, as well as having a locomotive (train track) theme, to commemorate the fact that both forms of transportation played a major part in the town's development in the past.
The Workers is a monument made from stainless steel and stone and is located at The Dry Arch Roundabout in the town. The monument was created in 2001 by Maurice Harron. The monument commemorates a generation of men who worked on building the original bridge and train track at the Dry Arch. The piece of stone in the monument, which the workers are lifting, is a piece saved from the original bridge.
The Celtic Cross
The Celtic Cross is located in Cathedral Square, just across from the Cathedral of St. Eunan and St Columba in the town. Created by Redmond Herrity, the limestone cross was erected in 2006 to celebrate 2000 years since the birth of Jesus.
The Rabble Children
This monument was created by Maurice Harron and was erected in December 1994. Hiring Fairs were held in Letterkenny in years gone by when children between the ages of 11 and 16 were sold for periods of six months to wealthy farmers of the Lagan Valley. These Rabble Days were held annually in May and November at Speer's Lane, at the corner of Upper Main Street and a lasting memory to that era can be seen in Market Square where a beautiful monument of Rabble Children is located.
The Fireman's Helmet
Fireman's Helmet is a monument located outside the fire station in Letterkenny. It is constructed of a galvanised steel tube with copper sheeting and is a fine example of the work being done in the Travellers' project, Mountaintop, Letterkenny. This project is a government funded effort to educate and train Travellers in the dying skills of their culture in a modern world, through culture and art.
The Chair is another work of public art which may be found on Market Square. Constructed from wood it is typically yellow in colour, with various etchings worked into the overall design. Following its first appearance in the summer of 2005 at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, it has been present for more than seven years at its current location. Two more chairs, green and blue in colour, were mysteriously added in the months/years that followed. With the addition of these two structures the singular form of the piece's title became redundant, and the piece may now be referred to, simply, as the Chairs.
The Blacksmiths' Ball
The Blacksmiths' Ball is located outside Letterkenny Courthouse, at the junction of Justice Walsh Road and Port Road. It was constructed by 100 blacksmiths on Saturday 30 March 1991. The ball supports are four giant horseshoe nails. The ball displays symbols associated with the countries which the blacksmiths came from.