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Scariff Public Library

Public Art Commission - Launch May 2010
Scarriff Public Library

Scariff’s Silver Birches

The exquisite mosaic, Silver Birches, by Mayo artist John McNulty, was officially launched in the Scariff Public Library on Wednesday, May 19th 2010 at 2p.m. by Mayor of Clare, Tony Mulcahy.

This artwork was commissioned in 2009 by Clare County Council through the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government’s ‘Per cent for Art Scheme’ following an open competition.

The winning artwork was selected from over a dozen entries and according to Helen Walsh, County Librarian ‘the standard of proposals was exceptionally high. We were initially concerned that the location would be challenging for artists, but were pleasantly surprised by the standard and variety of responses to the location. We are delighted with the finished piece and the reaction locally has been phenomenal’.

The chosen work is a mosaic image of silver birch trees in a riverside environment with reeds, birds, insects and a fox created in glass and ceramic tile.The mosaic surface is fractured with multiple hues and sizes of tile. The tree trunks and larger branch shapes are cut from cement board and fixed to the base board to give a low relief to the tiling.

The darker patterns on the tree trunks rising from the planter match the tone of the window and doorframes leading the eye up to the softer curves above. More fracturing towards the top with lighter and brighter colour reflects the light down into the space.

Local transition year students at the nearby Scariff Community College were involved in creating the ceramic elements of birds and insects at workshops with the artist, under the guidance of their art teacher Mary Rouine. ‘The involvement of local people in the creation of the artwork is a very important element of commissioning public artworks’ explains Siobhán Mulcahy, County Arts Officer. ‘Not only did these young people get the opportunity to work with a professional artist, they learned about the various stages in planning, making and installing an artwork as well as gaining immense enjoyment from the creative process. They should be very proud of their efforts which will be on show as a lasting legacy at the library.’

The overall effect of the piece is to provide a bright calm space behind the library reflecting the natural habitat around Scariff. The local branch librarians are thrilled with the positive feedback from members of the public.

For further information contact: Siobhán Mulcahy, County Arts Officer
Tel: 065 6899091, email:, Facebook: Clare Arts Office

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