Tuam is a town in County Galway, Ireland, that has a rich and diverse heritage. One of the most prominent landmarks in the town is the Tuaha Tuama statue, a bronze sculpture that stands in the centre of the town square. The statue was commissioned in 1994 by the Tuam Town Council and created by sculptor Cathy Carman. It represents the town’s history, culture and identity, as well as its aspirations for the future.

The name Tuaha Tuama means “the people of Tuam” in Irish, and it reflects the sense of community and pride that the town has. The statue depicts a group of people holding hands and forming a circle around a wheel. The wheel is a symbol of Saint Jarlath, the founder of the town and its diocese in the 6th century. According to legend, Jarlath was travelling with his chariot when one of its wheels broke near Tuam. He took this as a sign from God to settle there and establish a monastery. The wheel also represents the continuity and cycle of life, as well as the town’s connection to its spiritual heritage.

The base of the statue features three motifs from the town’s coat of arms, which illustrate different aspects of Tuam’s history. The first motif is the crown of Tuam’s 12th century High Kings, who ruled over much of Connacht and parts of Munster and Leinster. The second motif is Christ’s crown, which is seen on the High Cross of Tuam, one of the finest examples of Celtic art and Christianity in Ireland. The third motif is the broken chariot wheel of Saint Jarlath, which signifies his role as the patron saint of the town and its diocese.

The statue is not only a tribute to Tuam’s past, but also a vision for its future. The people in the statue are looking outward into the world, showing their openness and curiosity. They are also embracing their history, symbolised by Jarlath’s wheel in the centre, which gives them strength and identity. The statue is a reminder of Tuam’s achievements and challenges, as well as its hopes and dreams.

The Tuaha Tuama statue is more than just a piece of art. It is a reflection of Tuam’s soul and spirit, a celebration of its community and culture, and an inspiration for its future generations.


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Tuaha Tuama Statue



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