New Urban Sculpture Trail launched in Cork City

Urban Mirror by plattenbaustudio on Cornmarket Street (Coal Quay)

A new Urban Sculpture Trail has been launched in Cork City, allowing people to visit five contemporary public artworks installed in the city over the last six months. 

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Kieran McCarthy officially launched Island City Cork’s Urban Sculpture Trail on December 12, a project that represents the biggest single investment in public artwork in the history of Cork City. 

The five temporary sculptures will remain in situ for five years and are intended to illuminate Cork’s heritage in an arresting and intriguing way. 

Cork City Council and Fáilte Ireland, who sponsored the project, hope that the new art installations will encourage locals and tourists alike to pause as they walk through Cork and appreciate the beauty and history of the city’s streets. 

The project, which is two years in the making, has seen artwork installed at Carey’s Lane, Cook Street, the Exchange Building on the intersection of Princes Street and Oliver Plunkett St, Cornmarket Street (Coal Quay), and Triskel Christchurch.

Located on Carey’s Lane, Niamh McCann’s “Sentinals” is a lane-length sculptural piece, influenced by the architecture, geography, and migratory history of the street. 

Niamh McCann’s “Sentinals”

Art collective Forerunner’s piece “Boom Nouveau” is located on Cook Street and mimics the form of a tangible everyday urban street feature – the lamppost. The name refers to the rupture of the artwork emerging from the ground, with a nod to the influence of the craftsmanship of art nouveau, while the piece encourages people to look up and explore Cork’s architecture. 

Forerunner’s “Boom Nouveau”

Fiona Mulholland’s piece “The Face Cup” is located at the Exchange Building on the intersection of Princes Street and Oliver Plunkett Street and pays tribute to Cork’s prehistoric heritage. The piece is based on a collection of exceptional Bronze Age ceramic artifacts roughly 3,800 years old that were excavated by Cork archaeologists.

Fiona Mulholland’s “The Face Cup”

Meanwhile, “Urban Mirror” on Cornmarket Street was created by plattenbaustudio. The artwork is a beautifully crafted large table with an atmospheric globe light that provides a sculptural pavilion in a cultural corner of the city center and a warming glow when the sun sets. It is intended to be a public space used by people to talk, play, and eat. 

“Urban Mirror” by plattenbaustudio

Finally, Brian Kenny’s “Tempus Futurum” is located at Triskel Christchurch and features a light installation that illuminates the stories of Cork’s past, present, and sustainable future. 

Brian Kenny’s “Tempus Futurum”

Commenting on the launch of the new sculpture trail, Lord Mayor of Cork Kieran McCarthy described the project as the “most ambitious” ever taken on by Cork City Council. 

“I was delighted to meet all of the inspiring artists and architects at their individual unveilings over the past few months and to hear the incredible process, detail, and love that has gone into each installation,” McCarthy said.

“This has been an exceptional project for all, bringing art to the streets of Cork and enriching our urban environment and its heritage and history.” #

Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland, said the animation of urban areas is “essential to transforming and re-imagining our public spaces as safe, welcoming and vibrant places to visit”. 

“Cork is an important part of Ireland’s Ancient East and has huge potential to attract domestic and international visitors. Fáilte Ireland’s ongoing work in partnership with Cork City Council focuses on developing new and unique reasons for people to visit Cork, and ‘Island City’ is a perfect example of this,” Carroll said in a statement. 

To learn more about Island City, find out how you can follow the trail, and view short documentaries on the making of each of the five artworks, click here, or follow @IslandCityCorkSculpture on Instagram.

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