After the success of the Dromore Woodlands Sculpture Trail in 1996, it was easy enough to raise interest and show how a permanent contemporary sculpture trail would be a success in the town of Ennis to the County Council. As this sculpture trail was to be located on Clare County Council property along the banks of the river Fergus, the success of this project depended on the council giving approval to such a project, which they did.


Once the site was approved I then needed to acquire a site where the sculptures could be carved and as all of the sculptors were working on stone, I needed a site where dust and noise would not be of consequence. A disused factory on the grounds of the old Psychiatric Hospital on the Gort Road would be ideal location, near town but out of the way. I approached a friend of the family Mr John Cunlan who was then a manager in the Mid-Western Healthboard if he could ascertain this site for the carving of the stone, which he did. I now had the site and the location all I needed was the sculptors and funding for the payment of the stone and the payment to the sculptors for carving the stone.
I asked Shane Gilmore and Fiona o’Dwyer, as they were involved in the Dromore Woodlands Sculpture Trail, if they would be interested in this project and yes they were. As none of us had carved stone previous to this we needed a professional stone mason to join this project to instruct us in how to carve stone, somebody who would be interested in carving a large block of stone for sculpture purposes. Barry Wrafter and Colin Grehan two young stone masons located in Ennis were approached as asked if they would like to join the project, which they agreed to. The final sculptor was Diarmuid Twohigk, a sculptor living in Inagh, originally from Dublin.


We now had the site from Clare County Council, location from the Mid-Western Healthboard, to carve and the sculptors, all that was needed now was the funding. FAS was approached and it was agreed that they would cover public liability and machinery if we would turn the project into a training project, each sculptor agreed to take on an assistant from the live register. After that the funding for payment for stone and sculptors was easy enough to acquire with local business’s putting forward the finance if they received recognition on a plack which would be located by the sculpture.


Five pieces of permanent stone sculpture were sited on the riverbank in September 1997 and this proved to be another great success leading to the Ennis Riverwalk Sculpture Trail in 1998.
"Fishy Tale" 1997
“Fishy Tale” was carved by me in 1997 as part of the Ennis Riverwalk Sculpture Trail. It is a polished limestone piece the subject of which is based on the mythical salmon that my father was always talking about, the giant salmon that always got away. My assistant was John Brooks.
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