Púca’s sculpture finally finds a permanent home in the Burren
Aidan Harte’s £30,000 Púca sculpture has finally been unveiled to the public in ‘a magical place’, a short distance from GAA founder Michael Cusack’s birthplace in the Burren, after more than a year of controversy .
A large crowd gathered in Poll a Phúca for the unveiling of the 2m tall bronze statue near the Michael Cusack Center in Carron in the Burren.
Moments after the artwork commissioned by Clare County Council was unveiled, parents and their children patiently lined up to have their photo taken with the notorious figure in Irish folklore.
Referring to the controversy surrounding the statue, Clare Deputy Mayor Fianna Fáil Councilor Joe Killeen told the crowd: “We know the statue hasn’t received universal praise for a variety of reasons. .
“However, we believe it will captivate, entertain and elicit an emotional response from everyone who comes here to engage with it and that’s the idea of the art.”
He said that if the Púca “frightens you or entertains you, you’ll have to make up your own mind”.
Before unveiling the Púca, Mr Killeen said: “I think the more controversy there is over the Púca the better and he’s definitely a valuable addition to center Michael Cusack and he’s going to be a big draw here. ”
Center Michael Cusack beat competition from the village of Ballyvaughan in North Clare to host the Púca. Michael Cusack Center board chairman Dónal Ó hAiniféin told the crowd that the center went “to hell for leather” to get it.
He said that “while the Púca was quite a controversial figure, Michael Cusack himself was controversial”.
Speaking to the crowd, Púca creator Aidan Harte said Púca had found a home “in a quiet, magical place” near Michael Cusack’s cottage.
Harte said he wanted to thank the residents of Carron for hosting him.
Earlier this year, Clare County Council called for expressions of interest in the Púca after the town of Ennistymon in North Clare rejected the sculpture following an online poll carried out at the name of the council, which showed that a majority was not in favor of its installation in the city.
Following the weekend reveal, Mr. Harte said, “Today has been a long time coming. The Púca will have a happy home here in Carron.
Referring to the online survey where the Púca was variously described as scary, beautiful, ugly, creative, hideous, quirky, vulgar, wonderful, grotesque, imaginative, diabolical and humorous, Mr Harte said: “They tried to cancel the Púca and they failed. Now, having him in Carron is an opportunity for the people of Clare to see what people didn’t want them to see and for them to form their own opinion.
In May last year, Clare County Council suspended work on the Púca pending increased engagement with the Ennistymon public.
The council’s decision followed a local outcry, including parish priest Father Willie Cummins denouncing the Púca from the altar during Sunday mass.
La Púca is Mr. Harte’s first public art commission and he said “there were times when it wasn’t fun”.
Mr Harte said the controversy around the Púca “could have been avoided by just coming out and forcefully explaining the decision-making process and making the case for the merits of the artwork and saying ‘try him and do not judge him prematurely and do not condemn him to death in absentia”.