Unique public art project celebrates Limerick horse culture

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

St Patrick's national school pupils Orla Kirwan, Belle Reales and Laura McNamara  sit on one of the Urban Horses, created by Angela Connolly
A HERD of colourful horses, made from fibreglass, will roam free in the People’s Park from this Friday evening.

A HERD of colourful horses, made from fibreglass, will roam free in the People’s Park from this Friday evening.

The Urban Horse project will see 15 wildly creative horses put on display in the park for Culture Night and until the end of September, before they move to different parts of Limerick.

The innovative and highly interactive public art project engaged with schools, youth groups and other organisations to create the horses, under the tutelage of Limerick artist and educator Angela Connolly.

Key to the project, which is a continuation of the Horse Outside sculptures located at the Hunt Museum, is celebrating Limerick’s horse culture.

“It is as much about the care of animals as it is about the painting of them,” explains Angela, who set up the Limerick Corridor Art Programme over eight years ago to work with children in regeneration areas and get them involved in public art.

“That is all part of the programme delivered to the kids, the care of horses in particular. The educational aspect is extremely crucial to it.

“Horses have been the theme for the last, nearly nine years at this stage. Through that, the children’s involvement - even adults - it is like a magnet that they want to get involved in.

“The horse is here to stay for quite a while yet,” she added.

Connolly worked with organisations such as Limerick Youth Service, Southill Outreach, Limerick Pride and the Bedford Row Project, as well as schools such as St Patrick’s National School, St Nessan’s, Castletroy College and Salesians.

Creating the original clay design herself, she utilised the considerable talents of the Fab Lab design studio on Rutland Street to create the larger 3D models.

“It has been highly interactive since the beginning, working with the Fab Lab, with technologies that I wouldn’t normally have worked with, CAD drawings and laser cutting devices,” she explained.

“We worked with people from the ages of 8 up to 65 and they all had their own unique designs, and even though we were working out of the same pots of paint, every horse is different and has its own story to tell.”

The Urban Horse project launches in People’s Park on Friday at 6pm.