A newly sculpted statue unveiled in one of Co Longford’s most scenic villages is already starting to attract visitors from right across the midlands.
Locals from the quiet surroundings of Newtowncashel may still be getting used to their newest addition-a stone cut version of legendary mythical figure Heber Donn, but it seems his appearance has struck a chord with passing visitors.
The artist behind the project, Michael Casey, said the statue’s presence could not have generated more interest.
“We have already had a wedding group around it,” the local artist giggled. “The fact we decided to go stay away from a saint or patriot has meant that everyone is asking about it.”
Heber Donn played an instrumental role in the takeover of Ireland from the Danan Kings around 1699BC and he now sits poker faced with his hands in his lap in Newtowncashel.
Now, a matter of weeks on, Mr Casey paid tribute to all those who helped bring ‘Heber’s’ grand unveiling to fruition.
“I designed the sculpture but it was a whole community effort,” said a modest Mr Casey. Others whom the straight talking Newtownacashel resident earmarked for specific praise were Lanesboro’s Larry Levey and Manorhamilton sculptor, Jackie McKenna.
“There were a lot of people involved,” he added. “Mick Casey helped bring the stone down and only for that I don’t know how we would have managed.”
Part funded by Longford Community Resources Ltd (LCRL), a large percentage of monies came courtesy of an anonymous benefactor.
“That is the third big donation this man has given to the village and we are extremely grateful for it,” he said.
As for the future and what plans, if any, Mr Casey and others might have regarding possible further additions, Mr Casey replied: “I’m not sure about that. What I do know is he (statue) has brought about plenty of debate because everyone keeps asking who is Heber Donn?”
Mr Casey added that Peter Hanley kindly allowed the land to be used as small village green, which the community is most appreciative of.
To find out more about Heber Donn and his role in Irish history, check out www.longfordleader.ie