If you ever visit the University of Galway campus, you might notice a striking sculpture near the entrance of the Arts Millennium Building. The sculpture is called ‘Ceiluradh’ which means “celebration” in Irish, and it was created by John Coll, a renowned Irish sculptor who specializes in bronze and stainless steel works.
Ceiluradh was commissioned by the UCG Graduate Society in 2004 to mark the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the university. It was unveiled by President Mary McAleese on October 15th, 2004, as part of the sesquicentennial celebrations.
The sculpture consists of two elements: a bronze figure of a graduate holding a scroll, and a stainless steel spiral that rises above him. The figure represents the achievement and joy of graduation, while the spiral symbolizes the continuous learning and growth that follows. The sculpture also reflects the history and identity of the university, which was originally founded as Queen’s College Galway in 1845, and became part of the National University of Ireland in 1908.
According to John Coll, Ceiluradh is “a celebration of education and its importance in our lives. It is also a celebration of Galway as a centre of learning and culture, and of the university as a vital part of the community.”
John Coll is one of Ireland’s most prominent sculptors, who has created many public artworks across the country and abroad. He was born in London in 1951, but moved to Ireland at the age of nine. He studied at the Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork, and later at the Royal College of Art in London. He has been based in Galway since 1980, where he runs his own studio and foundry.
John Coll’s sculptures are characterized by their dynamic forms, expressive details, and symbolic meanings. He often uses bronze and stainless steel as his preferred materials, as they allow him to create contrast and harmony between different textures and colours. He also draws inspiration from mythology, history, literature, and nature.
Ceiluradh is located on the grounds of the University of Galway, near the entrance of the Arts Millennium Building. It is accessible to the public at any time. The Ceiluradh is a beautiful and meaningful sculpture that celebrates the spirit of education and achievement. It is also a testament to the talent and vision of John Coll, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed sculptors. If you are in Galway, make sure to visit Ceiluradh and admire its artistic and historical value.
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