A sculpture created by local artist Michael Casey to honour Heber Donn will be unveiled by Adrian Green, CEO Longford Community Resources Limited (LCRL) at 4pm on Monday, May 7 next in the picturesque south Longford village of Newtowncashel.
The ceremony will be followed by a talk on the Milesians in Ireland which will be chaired by County Archivist, Martin Morris. Prior to the unveiling, at approximately 2:30pm, the annual Nature Walk will begin in the village and pass through a number of beauty spots in the Parish including Lady Well, Lough Ree, Culnagore Wood and Lough Slawn. On the day there will be lots of prizes up for grabs and refreshments will also be served.
So, who was Heber Donn? “Well, according to legend many great battles were fought by foreign invaders for the possession of Ireland, but eventually it was the Milesians who became rulers of the entire island of Ireland,” Mr Casey told the Leader. “It is believed they came from southern Spain and among their leaders was IR, who was drowned during the invasion. His four sons were the original founders of the Milesian dynasty in Ireland.”
The well known sculptor went on to say that descendants of the four sons formed different clans that subsequently inhabited the country until the clan system was dissolved under British colonisation.
“The final breakup of the clan system came when the country was made a British dependency,” Mr Casey added. “Two of the most powerful clans who ruled Annaly were the O’Farrell’s and the O’Quinn’s. One of the four sons of IR became ruler of a kingdom that stretched from Ulster to South Annaly (Longford) and it was he who was Heber Donn. The sculpture in Newtowncashel of Heber Donn shows him at rest as he gazes out over his kingdom.”
The figure was carved by Jackie McKenna, Larry Leavy and Simon Carman from a design by Mr Casey and the limestone was taken from a quarry in Co Kilkenny. “The sculpture took a year to make, and, sitting the figure is 6 foot high. Standing it would be approximately 8 foot high,” he added. “Funding for the sculpture came from LCRL with generous donations from Eben Hamilton of Barley Harbour.”
Full details are available on the parish website www.newtowncashel.ie and the Newtowncashel Facebook page.