THE people of Schull were horrified this morning to find a landmark sculpture in their town had been knocked off its perch and left smashed, in several pieces.
The beacon-shaped sculpture, by local artist Carol James, was commissioned by the Schull Tidy Towns to celebrate the town's relationship with the sea and it was initially erected in 2014.
Ms James said at the time that the statue was an 'historical and present day reflection of Schull, celebrating its fishing industry and marine life'.
But this morning residents of the pretty coastal village â at the height of its tourist season â awoke to find the statue in several pieces, and the base smashed to smithereens.
âWe're horrified at what we found this morning ... apart from the usual mess and hideousness that we have unfortunately grown used to during this week ... we found this,' said a post on the 'I Love Schull' Facebook page.
âA total disregard and disrespect of our beautiful village. It would be wonderful if anyone knowing anything about this destruction of the sculpture could come forward, but that is unlikely â¦.' it added.
The post also pointed out that thanks must go to the clean-up crew who have been out every morning at 6.30am cleaning up the village.
âUnfortunately the CCTV cameras don't cover this spot, both the County Council and the gardaÃ are aware of this and would welcome any information,' they added.
The artist chose the conic shape of the statue to mirror the Long Island Beacon which can be seen in the distance. The surface of the statue is decorated with sculpted old-time fishing boats and lobster pots, otters, herons, and other depictions of indigenous marine life and activity.
The sculpture was initially located closer to the shoreline, but after consultation with the Council, it was later relocated closer to the pier.
There had been some controversy surrounding its design, with some locals describing it as âphallic' before the items on its surface were painted in different, bright, colours.
The village is currently in the middle of its popular sailing week, Calves Week, and the famous Fastnet Race this week also brought many race enthusiasts to the area.