Old Irish warrior defends the gap again


IN years gone by it was held that what is now called Dundalk was the site chosen by Cuchulainn, the first great Irish warrior, for his fort. Now the man made immortal in Irish mythology stands beside the recently opened Dundalk Inner Relief Road.

The six metre high sculpture is made from stainless steel and is the work of another local man, Miceal McKeown.

"I am a self taught artist and sculptor and live in Blackrock just outside Dundalk," said Miceal, who four years ago took early retirement from a secure job in PJ Carroll's factory to work full time as an artist. "I have no regrets," he said.

The sculpture has been erected on the road at the point where it starts to bridge the Castletown river.

The local council decided to name it the Tain bridge.

"Cuchulainn was based in Dundalk, and years ago Dundalk was known as Dun Dealgan which means the hill of Dealgan where it is reported that Cuchulainn had his fort. So I thought it seemed appropriate to choose him," said Miceal.

The commissioning of the work was by open competition and despite the local connections, he was surprised to win.

The road, like many others in Ireland, received funding from the EU which included, as policy, money for a work of art to accompany the project itself.

Miceal was also asked to do the official portrait for the Army barracks, in Dundalk and says he does not have to travel outside the area for inspiration.

"I never have to go beyond the area for material. I can paint within the locality . . . I get everything from the locality. Maybe you could say my work is insular but it sells well."