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.
The Lough Boora Discovery Park website has been announced as a Finalist in the Best Practice category for this year’s Web Awards, which take place at Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin on Wednesday 22 October 2014.
The new Lough Boora Discovery Park website was launched in early August 2014 as part of a Bord na Móna initiative to increase awareness of the park as a free amenity in the heart of Ireland that offers something for everyone.
The website highlights the activities that are available for all ages and abilities, with information about the park’s nature and biodiversity, history and the story of Bord na Móna. The new website testing.loughboora.com encourages users to visit Lough Boora Discovery Park, discover and explore all this amenity has to offer.
The 2014 Web Awards take place at Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin on Wednesday 22 October 2014.
For more information, visit testing.loughboora.com and connect with us on Twitter @loughboorapark, Facebook and YouTube.
A Sculpture Park tribute for artist Jean Conroy was held by the Art Hedge School at Lough Boora Discovery Park on Sunday 28 September 2014.
The event was organised by Sinead O’Reilly, Arts Officer with Offaly County Council and was hosted by fellow Sculptor, Tom Mescall, who worked with Jean over the years prior to her passing.
Approximately 30 adults and children joined in crafted temporary art pieces made from the natural materials found around The Boora Pyramid sculpture. This was the fourth year the Art Hedge School gathered at Lough Boora.
Additional photos from the tribute can be found on the Lough Boora Discovery Park Facebook Page.
The members of the Active Retirement Associations (ARA) in the counties of Offaly, Laois, Westmeath and Cavan attended a walk organised by Midland Regional Committee ARI in Lough Boora in May.
All wished to participate in the annual Bealtaine Festival which celebrates the creativity and energy of the more mature in years! Some participants strolled around the Sculpture Park while others chose to do the 5km or 10km walk.
The glorious sunshine added to the enjoyment and all had a hearty appetite for the picnic afterwards. Everybody was struck by the tranquillity of the park, a hidden gem on our doorstep.
The ARA thanked Bord na Móna’s team at Lough Boora who pulled out all the stops to ensure the success of the day and imparted their local knowledge during guided tours.
Special thanks also goes to Olivia Murphy, Offaly Sport’s Partnership, for her talk on the benefits of walking. While taking a rest and enjoying the surroundings, Nancy Spain, from local ARA, Kilcormac, sang a wonderful rendition of the very appropriate Down the Old Bog Road. There wasn’t a dry eye in the wigwam! It is hoped this will be an annual event.
To register your next group event or organise a guided tour of Lough Boora Discovery Park, please complete the online enquiry form.
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.