A public sculpture entitled ‘Paper Boats’ by artist Amanda Ralph has been on quite an expedition. They began life as a fleet of seven boats that call upon the wistful desire for adventure you sometimes get when watching a boat going out to sea, and were commissioned by Offaly County Council in 2000 for the River Brosna in Clara. Two winters later, the river rose considerably after a storm and debris swirled around the chained anchors, dragging some of them under. The OPW were called to dredge the river, and Offaly County Council employee Dominic Fleming spotted the machine hauling the boats onto the riverbank. Rescuing five of the seven, he placed them in storage in Clara, waiting for someone to claim them. Around this time, the Arts Office in Offaly County Council was undergoing a change of personnel and somehow the fate of the rescued boats was overlooked.
Arts Officer, Sinéad O’Reilly says, “When I took up the post in 2005, I found a record of them having being commissioned, but nothing of what had happened to them subsequently. I had heard in conversation that the OPW removed them, but nothing further. In 2014, Amanda contacted us to ask if we knew anything about what had happed to the sculptures. We started to ask questions locally and amazingly we found them, stored in a loft in a depot in Clara. We are very grateful to Dominic Fleming for rescuing the sculptures when he did. He even managed to avoid them being turned into planters over the years! Two of them are still missing, possibly buried into the river bank from when the river was dredged.”
Amanda assessed their condition and brought them to Arklow Marine Services where they had been originally engineered, 14 years earlier. “I was worried that there would be nobody who would remember making them and we’d have difficulty in getting them restored, but Billy Tyrrell, a fifth generation boat builder, recollected them immediately. Arklow Marine are one of the leading boat builders in Ireland, so I imagine a project like this sticks in their minds”.
While being restored, a new home was found for the remaining boats at Lough Boora Discovery Park in the context of its existing Sculpture Park. The boats were placed in Lough an Dochas at the Visitor Centre just before Christmas. Sinéad says, “We are delighted with the new location and wish to thank Bord na Mona and Kilcormac Development Association for providing a ‘safe harbour’ for them. They are the first sculptures visitors encounter at the park from the centre, and their original meaning of a wistful desire for adventure and discovery retains its value here too
Paper Boats will be re-launched at the Visitor Centre at Lough Boora Discovery Park on Friday January 16th at 3.30pm by writer and documentary maker Manchán Magan, and all are welcome.
Lough Boora Discovery Park’s Visitor Centre will host a free Landscape Photography Talk by Veronica Nicholson as part of Culture Night on Friday 19 September 2014 at 7pm.
Inspiring and informative, Veronica Nicholson is a renowned photographer who, against the backdrop of an exhibition by Athlone Photography Group will guide you through the techniques needed to perfect your landscapes.
Booking is essential as there are limited spaces. Call 05793 57400 to reserve your spot!
Culture Night is brought to you by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in partnership with Offaly County Council. Follow the conversation via our Twitter Account @loughboorapark and Facebook Page.
For more information about Culture Night events across the country, visit the culturenight.ie website, Facebook Pages for Cuture Night Offaly and Culture Night and follow @CultureNight on Twitter.
The Lough Boora Discovery Park website has been nominated for three awards in two categories at this year’s Web Awards.
The new website has been nominated for the following awards:
The new Lough Boora Discovery Park website was launched in early August 2014 in the lead up to the Battle of Giants Family Day event and as part of the celebrations marking the new on-site Lough Boora Visitor Centre.
The website showcases this free amenity in the heart of Ireland, highlighting the activities that are available for all ages and abilities. Information about the park’s nature and biodiversity, history and the story of Bord na Móna encourages users to discover and explore all Lough Boora Discovery Park has to offer.
Finalists will be announced in the coming weeks, with the 2014 Web Awards taking place on Wednesday 22 October in Dublin.
For more information, visit testing.loughboora.com and connect with Lough Boora Discovery Park via Twitter @loughboorapark, Facebook and YouTube.
Over 2,500 visitors from across the country participated in this year’s Battle of Giants Family Day event at Lough Boora Discovery Park in Co Offaly on Sunday 24 August 2014.
As part of National Heritage Week, the event celebrated Irish Myths and Legends and featured a battle between Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Scottish giant, Angus, with the assistance of mini warriors using their handmade armour battle shields, helmets and axes from the day’s workshop activities.
Fionn Mac Cumhaill and his army came away from the first battle with a victory, only to be defeated by Angus and his loyal warriors in the second battle of the day!
Children entered a Colouring Competition in the Kids Zone and took part in drumming workshops, archery tag and zorbing, with the park’s walking and cycling trails busy throughout the day.
The new Visitor Centre was humming with activity as families used the bike hire service and new cafe facilities at Loch an Dochais.
The free Family Day at Lough Boora raised over €4,500 for children’s charity Barretstown as part of their 20th Anniversary celebrations this year, through the generous donations of attendees.
For more information about future events and activities for families, schools and visitors of all ages and abilities, visit testing.loughboora.com, follow the #loughboora hashtag and connect with Lough Boora Discovery Park via Twitter @loughboorapark, Facebook and YouTube.
This Heritage Week, Lough Boora Discovery Park will become the spectacular backdrop for the ultimate Family Day, including a Battle of Giants featuring Fionn Mac Cumhaill as he takes on the Scottish giant Angus. A family friendly event in honour of Barretstown, the day will feature interactive workshops, a Kids Zone, Zorbing and more! Make the most of the park’s nature trails and explore the newly opened Visitor Centre.
The event takes place on Sunday 24 August 2014 from 12-5pm.
For more information and a full event itinerary, read the news article.