Mayo based artist Elaine Griffin has developed a sculpture trail of permanent bronze artworks, specifically related the area which are positioned around the lake. Unlike the huge number of applications proposing single large scale sculptural works, Elaine’s idea was selected because of it’s subtlety and sensitivity to the environment. The concept of the works being almost hidden, or having to actively search them out appealed to the panel and the clever way some may work with the natural landscape, such as a flower which will blend in with the natural flowers throughout spring and summer and be left standing alone and clearly visible during winter.
Elaine has reconstructed a minature module of the type of housing that would have been constructed and inhabited at the time when the Black Fort would have been a living and working holding. The piece is to be located on the grassy verge at the edge of the Black Fort, located on the central north shore of the lake. Having researched the matter, the artist went about reconstructing the dwelling using the appropriate materials of hazel and rushes, which were true to the original house. In this instance the artist used hazel canes which were coming into bud, to express the sense of the building being a living space. The roof was made using dried rushes and followed the traditional pattern of a stepped conical thatch. The idea of this piece is to draw the viewer’s attention to the fact that people did once actually live at Lough lannagh, in the Black Fort, and to encourage them to re-imagine the archealogical remains there as a living functioning entity.
This piece works in synergy with the previous one of the medieval hut and is to be sited in the pathway opposite the entrance to the Black fort. The piece, which is completed in wax, details a plan overview of a typical working layout of the interior and functioning of a ring fort. Included in this disc would be layouts for internal cobbled pathways, the central house, a smaller out building and a fire pit as well as an exterior circular moat or trench. The disc is executed in relief, with the moat and firepit represented in concave form, while the demarcation of buildings and cobbled pathways will be in relief. Overall the disc creates and interesting pattern in itself. The purpose of this piece is to alert the walker to the existence of the Blackfort. Once encountered on the pathway, the eye will then be drawn to the hut, encouraging the viewer to advance to and explore the ring fort itself.
Another piece is based on the traditional shoes worn by crannóg and ringfort dwellers of the period present at Loughlannagh. The research and production of these shoes has been assisted by the National Museum of Ireland, Kildare street, Dublin and the template has been taken from a single shoe in their collection found in Ireland from that period. On completion these shoes will be located on one of the large boulders adjacent to the new footbridge. The piece draws attention to futher down the lake, where the crannóg was situated. Again it reminds us of the presence of a community on site in a previous time and also of the current use of the site as a civic recreation area. The positioning of the shoes adjacent to the new footbridge reminds us that back then the crossing of the water mass was not by bridge, but by boat.
All molds for the flag iris cluster have been cast whilst the plants were fresh and in full bloom. The piece is located across from the main car park on the far side of the small stream, within an existing grouping of wild flag iris. The artwork acknowledges the native flora of the site and is a reminder of the cyclical nature of the seasons, the bronze ones remaining in bloom while the natural ones have died off in the winter months.