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Memorial to the Dying Elm

Artists Concept


Commissioned to commemorate the tragic death that resulted from the Dutch Elm disease that caused the destruction of many great Elm trees in Ireland in the 1980's, this sculpture takes the form of CuChulainn. The Hound of Ulster, mythical hero of the ancient Gael is a symbol for Ireland. As only worthy of a Knight of The Red Branch, he finally succumbed to- death, when mortally wounded, having tied himself to a pillar, so that he would die standing up. The Elm tree, weakened by disease fell in a storm. Its tortured remains lay rotting on the ground until it was `uplifted' and carved in the spirit of the mighty warrior himself.


Closely linked with the supernatural, CuChulainn could bring about transformation and shape changing. The tree therefore becomes the pillar, becoming CuChulainn himself. The pillar is synonomous with the tree representing The Tree of Life. Trees were sacred to the Celts as a powerful symbol of everlasting life and the undying spirit.


Commission: For The Prime Minister of Ireland, Charles. J. Haughey 1982




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