“The lasting legacy of the “Cootehill Harvester” public art piece by Tony Stallard will live on in Cootehill. We take pleasure in what we have collectively achieved. This is a unique day for our community and is the culmination of working together as a community to improve and enhance our lives and relationships.” Malachy Magee, Chair, BPttA
Malachy Magee, Chair of Building Peace through the Arts Steering Committee, Cootehill, spoke of the transformative effect that a community working together can achieve at the launch of The Cootehill Harvester at Halton’s Park on June 20. Malachy’s sentiments were echoed by Minister Heather Humphreys who complimented those involved in this project and in the overall development of Halton’s Park, an outstanding amenity for the area. Minister Humphreys said that she was very impressed with the Building Peace through the Arts projects, having unveiled three of them over the weekend. She congratulated the Arts Council of Northern Ireland on their vision for utilising this funding so successfully in the border counties.
Paddy Smith, Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council thanked Malachy and the steering committee who included representatives from industry and business, The Chamber of Commerce, Cootehill Area Development Limited, Heritage and Arts representatives and Cavan County Council. He paid tribute to the work of Sean Keenan, Programme Manager at The Arts Council of Northern Ireland in supporting the committee.
The artist, Tony Stallard described his inspiration in making this harvester to reflect the heroic efforts of the people who worked so hard for this once thriving industry. Historian Patrick Cassidy provided an informative talk on the origins and importance of Cootehill to the story of linen in Ireland. A powerful evocation of the back breaking work of the linen harvester was provided by Brian Mc Dermott, former operations manager at Abbots with his poem Reflecting on a Reaper. Rain fell, as it is determined to do on an Irish summer’s day, but it did not dampen the spirits of those present for the unveiling of the art work. Dramatic effect for the large enthusiastic audience was provided by the Kill Group Re-enactors who wore traditional costume and set the scene while the talented Claire O Reilly and Eileen Tackney enchanted all with their music and song.
Sean Keenan Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Ger Finn, Chief Executive of Cavan County Council thanked the people of Cootehill for their community engagement with the artists Tony Stallard and Susan F Hunter. Ger encouraged everyone to view this ‘in-process’ art work at Cootehill Library until 11 July.
Building Peace through the Arts, Cootehill was part-financed by the European Union’s PEACE lll Programme managed by the SEUPB, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland: and the International Fund for Ireland.
www.cavanarts.ie 049 4378548