Swans ~ Stainless Steel
Eamon O’Doherty

The death of Eamonn O’Doherty was announced on Thursday last.  He was born and grew up in Derry.   He graduated from University College Dublin with an Architectural Degree and was awarded a Visiting Scholarship to Harvard University. Before turning to sculpture full-time in 2002, he lectured for many years at the Faculty of Architecture at the Dublin Institute of Technology as well as the University of Jordan, the University of Nebraska and the Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris.

The overhead cables are not part of the work.

The sculpture is owned by Antrim Area Hospital and is located on an elevated site close to the main hospital entrance.  It stands 4.5m (16 ft) high and is visible from the front of the hospital, and from the main access roads – when the bushes are trimmed.

The sculpture is made in stainless steel and the surface reflects the changing light. The imagery of swans was chosen for several reasons; it reflects the colonies of swans at Lough Neagh; it has reference to migrating birds, their returning each year giving a sense of continuity; and it also has reference to the story of the Children of Lir, in Irish mythology when four children were turned into swans.

Eamonn O’Doherty is best known for his large-scale public sculptures, thirty of which stand in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Among these are landmark works such as:

The James Connolly Memorial, Dublin
Tree of Gold, outside the Central Bank in Dame Street, Dublin
Anna Livia Fountain – aka Floozie In The Jacuzzi (1988), Dublin
The Quincentennial Sculpture in Eyre Square, Galway,
The Great Hunger Memorial in Westchester, New York, completed in 2001 and described by the New York Times as “this great work”.

He is also a painter, printmaker and photographer and has won major awards for paintings.  He is the co-author of books on the diverse subjects of environmental planning and traditional Irish music.
You can read more about him here

Typical Irish tongue in cheek farewell to Eamonn O’Doherty

12 thoughts on “Swans

  1. Nancy

    Great Hunger Memorial Artist

    The monument’s sculptor, Eamonn O’Doherty of Ireland, describes the memorial as comprising three related elements. “The first represents five members of an Irish family group. The second element depicts the deserted shell of the homestead they’re forced to leave. The third element refers to the potato blight and consists of an overturned basket from which potatoes, as they spill onto the ground, metamorphose into skulls.”

    After its dedication in June 2001 the monument received widespread critical praise and won several awards, including American Institute of Architects’ community recognition as Most Outstanding Work of Public Art.


    When we drive to my son Jerry’s home in Connecticut, we go through Westchester,New York.

    We will be sure to stop at Macy Park on our next trip and visit this wonderful sculpture. We will be particularly interested because my Father’s people all reluctantly left Ireland at the time of the famine to seek a new life in America.

    Thanks for telling us about the sculpture..

  2. Grannymar Post author

    Nancy – I am so pleased that you will be able to see the Great Hunger Memorial, at close quarters, next time you visit Jerry.

  3. Grannymar Post author

    WWW – Thank you. The Swans have been on my list to photograph since they were first placed on the site, but when passing them I was always the driver in my car. When I heard that Eamonn died on Thursday, I went over early on Friday morning especially to take the photo.

  4. Rohit

    Children of Lir! You just sent me what feels like a thousand years back in time to when I was a child and my mother used to read me these bed time stories. This was one of my favourites…isn’t that the one where their sister then has to weave some special kind of sweaters (?) so they can become human again? Sorry if that sounds stupid but I only remember it vaguely now. It was great to be reminded of those sweet memories of childhood..thank you!

    I loved the sculpture btw…I will be visiting one of my friends in Dublin around Christmas time, so hope to see this when I am there 🙂

  5. Grannymar Post author

    Nick – I suppose it is my bad angle and the fact the wings are down ready for take off!

    Rohit –

    You just sent me what feels like a thousand years back in time to when I was a child and my mother used to read me these bed time stories.

    You are only twenty two, I am the one closer to a thousand years! 😆
    Here is a link to the Children of Lir story

  6. Baino

    Hahah love Nick’s comment. Actually I do like them power lines notwithstanding. I thought it was going to be a post on real swans when I saw it in Reader. White swans are a rarety here, ours are red and black.


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