Finvola ‘at the heart’ of the community

Maurice Harron signing the contract to sculpture a piece in Dungiven.  Included are Colr. Ann Brolly, Seamus O'Kane, Deaglan O'Doibhlin and Geraldine Smyth. (1505JB30)
Maurice Harron signing the contract to sculpture a piece in Dungiven. Included are Colr. Ann Brolly, Seamus O'Kane, Deaglan O'Doibhlin and Geraldine Smyth. (1505JB30)
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The Roe Valley is about to see one its most famous daughters come to life thanks to a project which organisers pledge will have “major community involvement”.

‘Finvola, The Gem of the Roe’ is to be immortalised in a bronze sculpture, measuring at least six feet high, designed by Derry-born Maurice Harron. The sculpture, due to be in place by December, will be situated outside Dungiven library on Main Street.

Chairperson of the Dungiven Library Public Art Committee, Anne Brolly said work on the first stage of the project begins tomorrow with Maurice Harron visiting each of the five schools in the Dungiven area. She said he would discuss ideas with schoolchildren, and workshops will be oganised as well.

“The children will be very much involved,” she told the ‘Journal’, explaining pupils will be asked to come up with designs that could be incorprated into the sculpture. She said there are also plans for a ceramic project involving almost 300 tiles to be displayed within the library.

The sculpture will sit on local carved stone, outside the library, in the area designated for the project when the library was built.

Mrs. Brolly explained the project has involved a number of sponsors, including the NI Arts Council which contributed £36,500. Limavady Borough Council is also involved, providing resources to liaise between the artist and the schools.

“I think it’s brilliant and this will be the first project to rejuvenate the town. There will be huge community involvement and, with this, we will have created an awareness and respect for the community,” she said. “Public art creates civic pride, and this sculpture will be at the centre of the town, at the heart of the community.”

Sculptor Maurice Harron is the artist behind the iconic ‘Hands Across the Divide’ at Carlisle Square, Derry, which recently featured as a backdrop on the hit US show, ‘American Idol’. He is also the sculptor for ‘Let the Dance Begin’, an 18-foot stainless steel figures on the roundabout just off the main Omagh to Derry Road, and ‘The Laganside Angel’ in the Belfast Harbour district.

Mrs Brolly said the reason the artist chose Finvola was because she was someone who united Western Scotland and North East Ireland politically through her marriage to Angus, Lord of the Isles.