Artist Thomas Dambo who created monumental Isak Heartstone spearheading Giants of the Sperrins sculpture trail

The artist who created the monumental Isak Heartstone sculpture in Colorado is spearheading a drive to create a new Giants of The Sperrins trail to attract tourists to the local mountain range.

By Kevin Mullan
Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 2:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 3:00 pm
The Isak Heartstone Sculpture, Breckenridge, Colorado USA by Thomas Dambo
The Isak Heartstone Sculpture, Breckenridge, Colorado USA by Thomas Dambo

Members of the public are invited to have their say on the proposed Sperrin Sculpture Trail being rolled out by Derry City and Strabane District Council working in partnership with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Mid Ulster District Council.

Early this year an artist led design and construction consultancy team was appointed to undertake the sculpture development and installation works.

This team consists of internationally acclaimed and Copenhagen based artist Thomas Dambo, and Sperrins based McGurk Architects.

The proposed design concept for the trail – Giants of The Sperrins - is an exciting one and is currently being refined. It seeks to showcase the epic stories associated with the Sperrins, the inspirational nature of the landscape, and the giant spirit and welcome of the people.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Colr. Brian Tierney, said: "This is a hugely positive initiative that not only will deliver a tourism experience that will showcase a local area of outstanding natural beauty but it will actively encourage locals and visitors alike to take part in a mix of excellent slow and activity based adventures in one of the most picturesque and historic locations on the island of Ireland.

"The Sperrins Sculpture Trail project is a significant Rural Tourism Scheme that is bringing much needed investment and focus on the natural and built heritage in that area so they in turn can be utilised and promoted to encourage visitors to our rural heartlands, whilst preserving the natural assets for our rural communities."

The locations within the Sperrins on which the artworks will be installed are near Cranagh (Derry City & Strabane District Council area); at Mullaghcarn (Fermanagh & Omagh District Council area) and at Davagh Forest (Mid Ulster District Council area).

The estimated cost of project delivery is £1,887,000 of which £1,325,000 has been secured from DAERA's Rural Tourism Scheme and match funding of £562,000 agreed by the partner Councils.

Encouraging the public to take part in the wider public engagement event on June 10, Mayor Tierney said it was important that everyone has their say on the plans.

"In addition to this flagship tourism project attracting investment and tourism, it is a significant capital infrastructural project that will create employment and opportunities for the region. It is vitally important that everyone gets involved in this public engagement event and gives their views."

Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots said: "The Rural Tourism Scheme was established in order to invest in natural and built heritage projects that can act as key drivers for encouraging rural tourism and out-of-state visitors. We believe that investing in tourism projects in rural areas, will enable not only linkages to be made to other local attractions, but also the development of 'tourism corridors', which will encourage and increase visitor footfall from tourism hotspots into the great rural outdoors.

The public information and engagement session is scheduled to take place online viaWebex at 7pm on Thursday, June 10. To register your interest in receiving an online invite to the event please contact Philip McShane, Rural Tourism Officer, Derry City & Strabane District Council by emailing [email protected]

The Isak Heartstone Sculpture, Breckenridge, Colorado USA by Thomas Dambo