‘What did Donald Trump do? Did he bomb everywhere?’

Irish children express hopes and fears for the future in time capsule inside acorn sculpture

In 2015 President Michael D Higgins initiated a competition to find a piece of public art which would remind future generations of how the centenary of the Easter Rising was commemorated in 2016.

The result of that competition was unveiled in the garden of Áras an Uachtaráin on Thursday. Dearcán na nDaoine/The People's Acorn is a striking art work made of thousands of pencils melded together and cast in bronze by the artist Rachel Joynt.

Fourteen artists answered the call for expressions of interest. Ms Joynt was chosen after an extensive selection process chaired by the archivist Catríona Crowe.

The artist chose the acorn as it is the seed of the national tree, the native Sessile Oak.


She likened an acorn to a time capsule which carries its own history and also a kernel of knowledge that contains the beginnings of a future tree.

The People's Acorn contains within its hollow core a time capsule reflecting present-day concerns and dreams and fears for the future. It will be opened in 2116 to mark the bicentenary of the Easter Rising.

It was inserted into the acorn by President Michael D Higgins and invited guests in the Áras garden.

Seven schools reflecting the seven signatories took part in a national exercise to contribute to the time capsule, and the musings of 170 children are included. Sophie McLoughlin (11), from St Mary’s National School in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, articulated a fear many people have but only future generations can answer.

"What did Donald Trump do? Did he bomb everywhere?"


She also inquired as to the fate of the GAA and the Kardashians and asked what version of the iPhone will be around in 100 years’ time.

Liadán Kalyan (11) wondered in 100 years if cars will drive themselves and whether or not people will exist as holograms. “Will there be time travel?” she wondered. Some of her concerns were closer to home. “Does Griffith Barracks Multi-Denominational School still exist?”

At the other end of the age spectrum men and women from the Lourdes Day Care Centre in Lower Seán McDermott Street, Dublin and the Bealtaine group of older writers contributed memories and poems to the capsule.

Most poignant of all was the contribution of Elizabeth O’Carroll, who wrote of her sorrow at knowing that she will not see her grandson grow up to be a man. “And so I pray that his years may be well filled with happiness, joy . . . easier! That he in turn will father daughters . . . Sons all healthy strong – have grandchildren . . . great-grandchildren alive in 2116!” She died in September of this year.

President Higgins described The People's Acorn as "truly beautiful" and in unison with the vision that the commemorative art work should reflect the legacy of the revolutionary generation and the "promise and potential of the future".

He also revealed that a public art work commemorating the 1913 lockout will be included in the garden of the Áras next year.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times