County Limerick man creates priceless deer sculpture with chainsaw

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Will Fogarty, centre, with his magnificent sculpture, Noel Grimes and John Sheahan Picture: Valerie O'Sullivan

Will Fogarty, centre, with his magnificent sculpture, Noel Grimes and John Sheahan Picture: Valerie O'Sullivan

A DEAD tree has been transformed into a wonderful piece of art by County Limerick chainsaw sculptor, Will Fogarty.

The Hospital man was contacted by John Ahern of Kerry County Council earlier this year.

“John had obviously been following my work. He said he had a big chestnut tree in the middle of Killarney. It was huge but it was diseased and dying and getting dangerous,” said Will, of Fear na Coillte Chainsaw Sculptures

“When they were taking the tree down John thought to himself, ‘We’ll try and save a bit of this’. He got in touch with me and one thing led to another. We decided on a red deer because of the proximity to the national park and there are deer all over the place,” he added.

The stag is located on Port Road, close to the cathedral. It was recently officially unveiled by Cathaoirleach of Killarney municipal district, John Sheahan and Noel Grimes, of Killarney Deer Society. But Will carved the piece under the fierce June sun.

“It took two weeks. It was during the really hot weather so it was tough going. The stag is over 15 feet high –  it is larger than life-size. We used real antlers sourced from the national park. It is bolted in to the sculpture,” said Will.

He has done a lot of commissions around the country but little in his home county.

“I’ve done work up in Carrick-on-Shannon, over to Wexford and a nice bit of stuff in Kerry and Cork. I had some pieces in the People’s Park but it would always be nice to get some more stuff done in your home county. It is a pretty cost effective way of getting a nice piece of art compared to bronzes or things like that,” said Will.

Even though the tree is diseased he expects his handiwork in Killarney to last over 20 years and longer again if it was a tree in good condition.

“They don’t rot that quickly as long as they are looked after, well treated and maintained every year. They do need a certain amount of love and care,” said Will.

In the aftermath of Limerick’s All-Ireland win he carved a fantastic copy of the Liam MacCarthy Cup. It got the thumbs up from Declan Hannon and the story featured in the Limerick Leader.

“Following the article in the Leader and word of mouth I’ve got a few more requests for cups,” said Will.