Ophelia's fallen trees are transformed by ‘chippie' into stunning sculptures

March 23rd, 2018 7:15 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

David Edwards with Will Fogarty's sculpture of the eagle, which has been attracting much attention.

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WHILE the ‘Skibbereen Eagle’ keeps its eye on Russia, an eagle of a different kind – carved from a tree stump –  is now watching over Shannonvale and has, in a short time, become an iconic figure in the village.

Welsh native David Edwards and his wife Sian are getting accustomed to the attention the wooden garden sculptures of an 8ft wide golden eagle and a barn owl are getting from the public.  

In fact, just last week they received a letter from local TD Jim Daly who congratulated them on creating something beautiful out of destruction and said it was very intuitive that they chose a barn owl as one is seen flying there at night.

‘I was very surprised to get the letter as I haven’t met him    before but I was impressed by it,’ David told The Southern Star.

Both sculptures were carved by Will Fogarty out of stumps of trees that had to be taken down following Storm Ophelia last October. 

‘It’s surprising the amount of people turning up to stop and admire Will’s sculptures and they often come out and take photos of them.’

‘Following Ophelia, several trees in our garden came down and we had to fell others. We didn’t want them to be completely knocked down as some of them were  over 130 years old, and it was suggested to us that the stumps could be carved. This wasn’t planned as we enjoyed the trees being there, but this is much better than losing them all together.’

A few internet searches later and David came across self-taught chain sculptor Will, who runs ‘Fear na Coillte Chainsaw Sculptures’. Will came down to Shannonvale see what he could do with the stumps.

‘It took Will only two days to carve the barn owl, but the eagle was a different challenge and one of our neighbours – Ali Draper – helped put up scaffolding around the tree for Will, as he needed to be high up because the wing tip is 16ft off the ground. Will stayed down with us while working on the sculpture and he did an amazing job with this eagle,’ said David.

Using just a chainsaw and no chisels, Will carved out these eye-catching sculptures and David reckons the Limerick man was born for this work.

‘The nice thing is that Will only started this type of work five years ago when work dried up for him during the recession – he’s a chippie by trade. But he’s a natural, and very modest about his talents,’ added David.

David and Sian moved to Shannonvale five years ago and have become actively involved in the community there. Before this, the local community association was having difficulty with cars speeding through the village. However, David said their two sculptures have managed to slow down the traffic as drivers reduce speed to admire the sculptures and some even stop and take pictures.

And David isn’t finished yet – he has his eye on getting another tree carved into a heron or a kingfisher. 

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