A NEW sculpture, to be unveiled this weekend in Glin, will pay homage to the town’s once-thriving fishing industry and to all those families associated with it.
The sculpture, designed and created by artist Pat O’Loughlin, is of oars and a salmon and carries the title Ceanglach, connected, and will stand, along with an interpretative board, in the town park. The unveiling will take place this Saturday evening as part of Glin Summer Festival.
The sculpture is the initiative of Glin Development Association and is the final piece in their project to upgrade the town park. But it also answers a long-felt need in the community to remember and commemorate its history.
Glin’s fishing industry stretches back in time over the centuries but came into its own in the 1800s. The fishing families lived, for the most part, in Mary’s Lane and some fished the weirs while others used drift nets on the river, using flat-bottomed boats called cots.
In one month alone, in July 1862, 2,813 salmon were caught and sold to Pegums Fish Store, located in the village. But oysters of “very superior flavour” and other fish were also abundant. A great proportion of the catch was sent by cart to Foynes, then by train to Waterford before being shipped to Billingsgate market in London. This industry supported a wide range of trades people, coopers, net-makers, carpenters, boat-builders, carters, and this inter-reliance is reflected in the sculpture. Glin’s historical “connectedness” to the wider world is also recalled in the sculpture.
The Glin Summer Festival kicks off this Friday with a Beat on the Street. and the unveiling of the sculpture will take place after Mass on Saturday evening. This will be followed by a sheaf-tossing competition, with some high-profile contestants, in the Square. On Sunday, there will be a full day of family fun, sport and competitions in the GAA field.