A blacksmith from Cappamore is crafting six roses from weapons donated by Bruff gardai for a memorial in Norway.
The roses will form part of a permanent sculpture to the 92 people who died following gun attacks in Oslo and on a nearby island during the summer.
The roses will be presented to the Norwegian Embassy in Dublin on December 20.
Eric O’Neill said that last month ago a call went out from Norwegian blacksmiths to the worldwide community of smiths for members of these associations to forge a rose.
Six Norwegians attended the international forge in Monaghan earlier this year, which Eric helped organise.
“So it was considered a must for members of the Irish Artist Blacksmith Association to answer their call for help. Blacksmiths up and down the country are busy forging roses,” said Eric.
He contacted Bruff gardai where he spoke to the acting superintendent, Inspector Paul Reidy.
“Eric O’Neill contacted Bruff garda station and outlined his intention to forge a rose from metals which were seized by gardai in the course of their duties and which were held by gardai for destruction. Mr O’Neill`s intention was to commemorate the victims of the Norway massacre,” said Insp Reidy, who added that gardai at the request of Mr O’Neill carried an examination of weapons of offence held by gardai for which destruction orders were in force.
The inspector agreed that it would be very fitting that these items be destroyed and used for the purpose of forging a rose to commemorate the deceased.
Gardai outlined that this was a genuine gesture to acknowledge the victims of this massacre in an appropriate manner and this could help achieve that. Gardai provided six items held for destruction to Eric. They were destroyed and the metals from them utilised for the roses.
“You basically heat the metal and manipulate it by hammering it and reshaping it in to a rose. It is going to be formed in to a bulb, then individual petals and then the stem and leaves formed as well,” said Eric. He added that the concept of forging a rose from a gun barrel has a number of significances.
“The total and irreversible destruction of a weapon which will become a thing of beauty – a rose. The support and friendship of the blacksmith community worldwide.
“An item that was used to take life taking changed to an organic form and paying respect to the victims of the atrocity as part of a unique sculpture. A negative changed to a positive by a skilled set of hands and a creative imagination, and lastly a strong visual of what is involved in modern day blacksmithing,” explained Eric.
Once all the roses are sent to Norway two blacksmiths will take charge of the project and finalise the design. All the information will be updated on the Iron Rose for Norway Facebook page.