Set Amergin Free – Appeal to Cllr. O’Connell on Knocknagoshel Waymark

A photograph of the Amergin sculpture on the Castleisland to Abbeyfeale road in Knocknagoshel. Photograph by Michael O’Shea
Cllr. Bobby O’Connell helping with the ‘Free Amergin’ campaign.  ©Photograph: John Reidy

The following letter to Cllr. Bobby O’Connell was written by Michael O’Shea from the Kells area of South Kerry.  Mr. O’Shea travels to and from Dublin and finds both a farewell and a fáilte kind of comfort in a 2008 established roadside landmark in the Knocknagoshel area.

Cllr. O’Connell, in turn, turned to Kerry County Council Senior Engineer, Paul Curry for assistance and seeing merit in the original letter, Mr. Curry passed it onto local area engineer, Brendan Mulhern.

Mr. O’Shea’s letter:
‘Dear Mr. O’Connell,

On the N21 between Abbeyfeale and Castleisland is a work of art, ‘Amergin’, a six-metre tall sculpture, with a span of six metres, inspired by the mythical Celtic druid and poet.

It was commissioned by Kerry County Council, designed by Achill-based artist Ronan Halpin, and erected in late 2008.

I travel regularly between Kerry and Dublin, and viewed ‘Amergin’ on the horizon as a “God speed” on the way up, or “welcome to the Kingdom” when driving back. The attached photo from Ronan’s website captures its dramatic impact when it was first unveiled over ten years ago, a lone sentinel at the roadside.
Unfortunately Kerry County Council has allowed the work to be almost totally obscured by the growth of hedgerows and trees. The vista is not much better when travelling towards Castleisland.

A superb example of road art and a Kerry landmark has all but disappeared.
I am writing to you and to your fellow Councillors from the Castleisland-Corca Dhuibhne Municipal District to ask you to make contact with the appropriate department in the Council to ensure that when hedge cutting recommences that ‘Amergin’ is given sufficient clearance so that it is restored as a notable waymark for travellers.

Best regards, Michael O’Shea, Gortaforia, Kells, Co Kerry.’

And, Mr. Curry’s response to Cllr. O’Connell:

Cllr. O’Connell,

Apologies for the delay in responding.

I note the concerns above and would agree that the feature is becoming masked by surrounding landscaping.

The same can be said for the Castleisland Bypass.

I have brought this to the attention of the Municipal District Engineer to include in an application for funding for tree clearance/ thinning.

Regards, Paul.

So, it appears that the concerns brought to light by Mr. O’Shea through Cllr. O’Connell will be acted upon soon – or at least when funding is made available.

Here is a link to a film clip made by Mr. O’Shea to illustrate and further his ‘Free Amergin’ campaign: