Our primary idea was to create a gathering point for people to congregate, a circle seemed the most appropriate shape to begin with.The bi-vallate (twin walled) enclosure also reflects Ireland's built heritage.
The ringfort is the most common archaeological site to be seen in the Irish landscape. The status of a ring fort is not only evident by its diameter but more significantly through the number of rings it contains. Therefore, a bi-vallate enclosure would often be the seat of the local lord or the central focal place for a network of ring forts which formed a community.
The outer wall symbolises the 4 provinces. Thus the Island of Ireland and all its people, with its many varying ways and vernacular styles, forms a comforting embrace around the 5th province.
That fifth province once had a physical existence here in the Iron Age and was known as Breifne. In addition, in this structure the fifth province also represents the individual, creativity, imagination and the Diaspora.
The structure represents the country of Ireland and a welcome home to the people who left and never returned.
The outer walls embrace the creative mind, the millions of souls and talents who left our shores and spread their skills far and wide. It becomes entirely appropriate that the 'Emigrant Stones should be laid in cruciform shape at the centre of the sculpture embracing people from all corners of the world. These 'Emigrant stones' are from the original emigration docks at Battery Park in New York.
For millions of emigrants, their first steps in the New World would have been onto these stones after registering at Ellis Island, including nearly everyone from Ireland during the famine years and after. By bring these block home to the center of Ireland, we too bring home all those first footsteps of those who left our shores, never to return.
A crest for each province.
The monument includes the crest of the four provinces (60x 60cm). Four DSWAI members who are also stone carvers donated these carvings to the monument.
Alex Panteleyenko working on the Ulster crest, with a bit of help from Christian Helling
Victor Daly's carving of the three crowns of Munster was carved in Valletta Slate. Alex's red hand of Ulster was carved in Donegal Sandstone. Julia's Harp of Leinster is carved in Tipperary blue limestone and the Connacht Crest of arms was carved by Christian in Liscannor sandstone.
The four provincial crests of Ireland form part of the sculpture, being inserted into specially built niches within the inner faces of the inner valette (enclosure wall)
The four finished crests. (from left, Victor Daly (Munster), Alex Panteleyenko (Ulster), Julia Gebel (Leinster), Christian Helling (Connacht)