The Elected Members of the Ennis Municipal District have unanimously approved the commissioning of a permanent artwork in the centre of Ennis marking the Clare County Capital’s status as Ireland’s Cleanest Town.
The artwork, entitled Bláth na hInse, is being produced by Kilkee Forge and is expected to be unveiled in the Abbey Street Car Park in October 2018.
Ennis was named Ireland’s Cleanest Town in January 2018 by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) following a survey of towns across Ireland. IBAL has made funding available to the winning town to mark the achievement by commissioning a permanent artwork.
The commissioning process, which was overseen by representatives of Clare County Council, Ennis Tidy Towns and the local arts community, attracted 15 submissions including proposals from Poland and Lebanon.
Three proposals were shortlisted for further development by the selection panel made up of Tommy Scott of Ennis Municipal District; artist Ceara Conway and Gary Lannigan of Ennis Tidy Towns. Siobhán Mulcahy, County Arts Officer, chaired the selection panel. On receipt of the developed proposals the panel recommended the commissioning of Bláth na hInse by Kilkee Forge. This proposal was also favoured by IBAL Chairman, Dr. Tom Cavanagh for its impact and visibility.
“The theme for the sculpture was left open,” explained Siobhan Mulcahy, Clare County Arts Officer. “It was suggested that artists may take inspiration from the history, story and sense of place of Ennis with reference made to Ireland’s Friendliest Place, Purple Flag accreditation, National Tidy Towns Awards, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and award winning festivals.”
Conor Horgan, spokesperson for IBAL, commented, “Alongside enhancing the urban environment and marking the town’s achievement in topping our rankings last year, we trust this art work will spur both current and future generations to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness in Ennis.”
The permanent artwork is being developed by sculptors Paddy and Conor Murray who have proposed the siting of a giant Yellow Iris.
“This wildflower grows in lakes, ponds and along riverbanks …. not only does our concept nod to the River Fergus, it also hints at the blossoming and blooming of Ennis from a business, community and cultural aspect,” they commented.
The stem of the Iris will be constructed from mild steel and will reach 3.25m in height. The Iris will have six petals constructed in stainless steel and mirror polished to create the coloured effect. Three steel benches will surround the Iris and QR codes will be located on each. The Iris will be illuminated by three static warm LED’s and will ‘grow’ out of a 2.5m flowerbed filled with wildflowers. Plaques / information will be incorporated into the design of the flower bed.