TWO West Cork sculptors are behind Kerry’s newest interactive tourist attraction, a 12ft Druid located at the aptly-named Druid’s View.
The druid, carved from the trunk of a large Monterey Cypress tree and cloaked in copper, was recently welcomed to its new home, at Molly Gallivan’s Cottage and Traditional Farm in Bonane, Co Kerry, close to the West Cork border.
The imposing and impressive Druid figure is the result of an exciting collaboration between the two artists – wood sculptor Anthony Cornforth and metal sculptor Peter Little.
Commissioned by Kerry County Council, the piece replaces a smaller existing druid carved by Anthony in 2002 which had to be removed during recent road improvement works.
The original druid was commissioned by Stephen and Frances O’Sullivan, owners of family run, Molly Gallivan’s Visitor Centre.
Located between Kenmare and Glengarriff on the Beara Peninsula, the druid represents the first settlers in the Sheen Valley, more than 6,000 years ago. To enable visitors to interact and engage with the sculpture, a camera has been placed on the druid’s staff. Visitors can look through an eyepiece enclosed in the druid’s cloak and share in the ‘Druid’s View’.
The druid looks across Sheen valley to the highest peak – Barra-Bui – where a cairn on the summit marks the resting place of an ancient Chieftain.
The camera will soon be linked to Molly Gallivan’s website and visitors can upload their photos taken with the druid to the cottage’s Facebook page. The photos posted to Facebook announcing the arrival of the new druid have already received over 7,000 views.
Stephen and Frances O’Sullivan said they were delighted to welcome the ‘new druid’ to the cotgage. ‘It has been an iconic landmark for Molly Gallivan’s and Kerry for many years,’ said Stephen. ‘Visitors love interacting with the new sculpture and seeing what the druid sees.’
Anthony and Peter are known throughout West Cork, and beyond, for their sculptures. This was a first time collaboration for the pair and the have since said that they are keen to work together in the future.
Anthony Cornforth normally works in wood and stone, making individual pieces in both media. He often uses whole sections of tree trunk, obtained through his tree surgery business, in which he carves large figures and nature inspired forms.
His work in stone includes figures and heads in limestone and marble, and ir sells in Ireland, Europe and the US through commission, exhibition, direct sales and selected outlets.
Peter studied fine art in Leeds and, as well as training as a Blacksmith in Herefordshire, he has a background working as a landscaper.