Am gaeth i m-muir,Am tond trethan,Am fuaim mara,Am dam secht ndirend,Am séig i n-aill,Am dér gréne,Am cain lubai,Am torc ar gail,Am he i l-lind,Am loch i m-maig,Am brí a ndai,Am bri dánae,Am gái i fodb feras feochtu, Am dé delbas do chind codnu,
Coiche nod gleith clochur slébe? Cia on co tagair aesa éscai?Cia du i l-laig fuiniud gréne?Cia beir buar o thig Tethrach?Cia buar Tethrach tibi?
Cia dám, cia dé delbas faebru a ndind ailsiu?Cáinte im gai, cainte gaithe.
Árthach Dána (Daring Vessel) celebrates the cultural and maritime heritage of Kerry’s Uíbh Ráthach Peninsula and Waterville’s central place in Irish mythology. The sundial sculpture by Holger Lonze is a monument to all prehistoric seafarers that explored Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard long before the advent of nautical instruments and charting. It responds to the ancient The Song of Amergin, the myth of the Milesian invasion as well as the sun-barge symbolism in European prehistory. Like the 11th century poem in the Leabhar Gabhála Éireann that inspired it, the sculpture is daring and bold, yet artful and embodying the coastal environment of Ireland’s Celtic seaboard.
The prow of a ship emerges from the ground like a beached vessel from the depth of history. The planking transforms into nine breaking waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the Great Waves of Erin, while it’s elongated stem resembles a gannet beak that becomes the gnomon of a large sundial. Wave patterns, the passage of the sun, sea birds and the constellation of Pleiades are remnants of age-old skills of seamanship, pilotage and celestial navigation. It’s stark, aggressive presence is a metaphor for climate change and the relentless forces of nature. Standing 6.4m (20’6’) tall, it is Ireland’s largest sundial.
The work was designed and fabricated by Kerry-based sculptor Holger Lonze, using the prehistoric repoussé process of repeatedly annealing and pounding bronze plate. This skin was then welded to a stainless steel frame, combining modern fabrication techniques with archaic Iron Age metal working. The Medieval Irish text of The Song of Amergin is laser-cut into a 12m long strip of bronze, set into the wall and lit at night.
Commissioned by Kerry County Council, completion March 2019.
I am the wind on the sea;I am the wave of the sea;I am the bull of seven battles;I am the eagle on the rockI am a flash from the sun;I am the most beautiful of plants;I am a strong wild boar;I am a salmon in the water;I am a lake in the plain;I am the word of knowledge;I am the head of the spear in battle;I am the god that puts fire in the head;
Who spreads light in the gathering on the hills?Who can tell the ages of the moon?Who can tell the place where the sun rests?