Sculptor finds home for giant squirrels


THEY FACED destruction a year ago, but tomorrow, Ennis sculptor Barry Wrafter is to hand over his sculpture of two giant-sized squirrels to its new owners.

At his workshop yesterday near Shannon, Co Clare, Wrafter admitted that, over the past two years since work began on the project, “it has been a rollercoaster ride with highs and lows along the way”.

Last April, Wrafter was set to destroy the uncompleted red and grey squirrels after the developer who commissioned them for a shopping centre in Longford pulled out.

It was only after Wrafter’s plea for a new buyer appeared in the media that a Cork-based couple – who wish to remain anonymous – agreed to purchase Squirrel Quarrel. The eight-foot grey squirrel and the smaller red squirrel – with a combined weight of almost 10 tonnes – are to be transferred to the estate of the Cork couple tomorrow to be placed alongside other sculptures in front of a castle on the grounds, but away from public view.

The piece marks the struggle of red squirrel populations against encroaching greys that have spread across the country.

Wrafter said that one of the other sculptures on the collectors’ estate is by a former winner of the prestigious Turner Prize.