Revealed: The final destination of the controversial Púca sculpture

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The new location of the controversial Púca statue which was rejected by the people of Ennistymon has been revealed.

Clare County Council today confirmed that the Michael Cusack Center in the heart of the Burren has been chosen as the new home of Aidan Harte’s work.

Two entries from the Michael Cusack Centre, Carron and the Ballyvaughan Community Development Group went through an adjudication process in which representatives from both groups pitched their case for hosting the work to an independent jury .

The judges noted in their citation: “While both contestants made a compelling case for hosting the sculpture, the operators of the Michael Cusack Center demonstrated how there would be mutual added value to both the installation and the community-run tourist attraction, the location of which was historically called ‘Poll a Phúca’.

“The Michael Cusack Center has demonstrated its compatibility with bringing the Púca into its natural habitat, confirming the interpretive element and story that will be told through the development of an educational aspect of the tourist attraction providing information on Irish tradition and the folk collection of the Púca,” the judges added. “There is also a proposal from the Michael Cusack Center to hold an annual Samhain/Púca Storytelling Festival on November 1 to celebrate new beginnings and new possibilities with a program of events ranging from academic to art for children.”

Commenting on Ballyvaughan Community Development’s application to house the artwork, the judges said: ‘The proposed location of the statue on community owned land just outside the village of Ballyvaughan has also been granted a high score. However, locating the Púca there would be premature due to its position on a regional road and the lack of pedestrian access and adequate lighting around the site.

The Púca is one of the great characters of Irish folklore. Douglas Hyde, Ireland’s first president (1938-45), described a “terrible steed” carrying mortals to fairyland on his back. Irish artists from Lady Wilde to Flann O’Brien have constantly reinvented this shape-shifting trickster.

“The Burren has always been a hiding place for renegades and outsiders, so it’s the perfect lair for a fairy thief,” said Púca creator Aidan Harte.

The artist continued: “After last year’s uproar, all of Ireland knows that the Púca’s reputation as a spoilsport is well deserved, but now people can finally go see The Scare from Clare by them. themselves. Of course, anyone brave enough to rub the Púca’s toe will be seven years lucky. And as for the locals who kindly hosted my adorable horse, they’ll be lucky on tap – hospitality is gold for The Good Folk.

Dónal Ó hAiniféin, Cathaoirleach of the Michael Cusack Center Board, said: “We welcome the decision of the independent evaluation committee. We are delighted that our bid to host the Púca artwork installation has been successful. The Púca will be welcome at Poll an Phúca in Carron at the Michael Cusack Homestead. Tá áthas an domhain orainn fáilte abhaile go Poll a’ Phúca a chur roimh an píosa ealáine ar leith seo. Táimid cinnte go mbeidh an Púca ar a sháimhín só anseo.

“We look forward to the installation and interpretation of the Púca and the creation of a new Samhain/Púca Storytelling Festival at the Michael Cusack Center on November 1 to facilitate a greater understanding of the tradition and place of the Púca in Irish Folklore, Heritage and Tradition. An innovative and inclusive program of community events will be developed to celebrate La Púca for adults and children.

The Púca is scheduled to be erected at the Michael Cusack Center in Carron next month (June).

Inspired by Irish folklore and the local equine heritage, the 2m tall bronze artwork was originally commissioned by the local authority in 2021 as part of a major investment in a capital project to increase the length of time visitors stay in Ennistymon and further improve the general appearance of the town. . Following extensive consultation with elected members and the local community, a public inquiry into the Púca and its proposed location influenced the decision to move the artwork elsewhere in North Clare through an expression of interest process organized in early 2022.

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