The Coláiste Sheosamh Naofa Obelisk is a tall stone spire that stands in the grounds of Coláiste Sheosaimh, an Irish language college near Ballinasloe in County Galway. The obelisk was built in 1811 as part of the Garbally Demesne, the estate of Richard Earl of Clancarty, who was a prominent politician and diplomat. 

The obelisk was designed by J. T. Grove, an architect who worked for the British Post Office and Board of Works. The inscription on the base of the obelisk states that Grove presented his design gratuitously to the Earl of Clancarty.

The obelisk is a striking and unusual feature in the landscape. It has elliptical piercings through the shaft, which give it a sense of lightness and elegance. The piercings also create an interesting contrast with the solidity and massiveness of the stone. The obelisk was intended to be an ‘eye-catcher’, a focal point that would enhance the view from the house and create a romantic atmosphere. 

Obelisks were popular elements in many large demesne landscapes in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were often erected to commemorate events, such as battles or victories, or to honour individuals, such as kings or heroes. However, the Coláiste Sheosamh Naofa Obelisk does not seem to have any specific symbolic or historical meaning, other than being a testament to the wealth and taste of its patron.

The obelisk is now part of the Coláiste Sheosaimh campus, which was established in 1960 as an Irish language college. The college offers summer courses for students aged 11 to 18, as well as leadership courses and higher level Irish courses. The college aims to provide an active and enjoyable learning experience for its students, where they are fully immersed in the Irish language and culture.

The Coláiste Sheosamh Naofa Obelisk is a hidden gem and a remarkable example of architectural and artistic creativity, as well as a reminder of the history and heritage of Galway.


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Coláiste Sheosamh Naofa Obelisk



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