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Memorial to the Dying Elm

Artists Concept

Commission: For The Prime Minister of Ireland, Charles. J. Haughey 1982


Commissioned to commemorate the tragic death that resulted from the Dutch Elm disease that caused the destruction of many great Elm trees in Ireland in the 1980's, this sculpture takes the form of CuChulainn, the Hound of Ulster, a mythical hero of the ancient Gael which is a symbol for Ireland. As only worthy of a Knight of The Red Branch, he finally succumbed to death, when mortally wounded, having first tied himself to a pillar, so that he would die standing up.


This Elm tree, fell in a storm on Prime Minister Haughey's property, at Kinsaley, Co Dublin. Its tortured remains lay on the ground until it was `uplifted' and sculpted in the spirit of the mighty warrior, himself.


In the great Irish Mythological tale, CuChulainn, closely linked with the supernatural, could bring about transformation and shape changing. The tree therefore symbolically becomes the pillar, and then becomes CuChulainn himself. The pillar is synonomous with the tree representing The Tree of Life which was sacred to the Celts as a powerful symbol of everlasting life and the undying spirit.






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