Tír Sáile Sculptural Trail

Tir Sáile Sculptural Map

Tír Sáile Sculpture Trail was the largest public art ever undertaken within Ireland.  During the Mayo Year 5000 Project it was constructed as a cultural celebration that was inspired by the human imprint in earth or stone within the landscape over fifty centuries.  A key component of the project was to incorporate natural materials with the environment.  In true ‘Meitheal’ style artists produced fourteen artistic designs along the North Mayo coast.  Trail begins in Killala then follows a coastal route through Ballycastle, Belderrig, Belmullet down towards Blacksod.  The present trail consists of eleven art works as several have degraded back into the landscape. [i]

This Sculptural Art Trail had its genesis in the discovery of the extensive Neolithic site on the North Mayo coast.  Interwoven tapestry of the physical landscape with the cultural heritage combined to provide the artists involved to produce their inspirational creations.  Sculptures included the following Gateway to the North Mayo Sculpture Trail at the Old Culleen’s School, the Inter Communications Park at Killala Harbour, Tonnta na Blianta at Kilcummin Pier, both Tearmon na Gaoithe & The Echo of Nawascape at Lackan Bay, Sli na nÓg at Lackan Cross School, Courte Hence at Ballycroy Cotteges,, Battling Forces at Down Patric Head, Wind Trees at Mulingelly on the Ballycastle / Belderrig Road, Dun Caochain Head at Carrowtique, Stratified Sheep at Balinboy Visitor Farm, Acknowledgemet at Claggan Island, Reconnections at the Belmullet Canalin, Idir dha Shaíe at Mullachroe also Deirbhle’s Twist at Fallmore. [ii]

The Tír Sáile art works with sculpture trail formulated as the notion of a ‘Meitheal’  that was a way groups of local people worked together towards a common goal.  The principle that informed all aspects of the development of the project for the collaboration of artists or community engagement to the enhancement of public or private sites to host various artists with their chosen sites.  A key aspect of the commission was the use of  natural materials. [iii]

North Mayo Sculpture Trail Tír Sáile is Ireland’s largest public art project.  This site-specific project was located in sites as diverse as a disused quarry to agricultural lands.  In several areas the gnesse of the Céide Fields was interwoven with the physical landscape.  The local stones, earth or terrain provided inspiration for the artist involved in the venture. [iv]

Tír Sáile in Belmullet consisted of fourteen site specific sculptures installed along the north Mayo coastline during 1993.  Six were located within the Erris area.  Project was part of the Celebrations of Year of Mayo 5000.  It was inspired by the human imprint on earth & stone at the Céide Fields.  It involved collaboration of local communities, public organizations also private individuals.  Local families hosted the artists involved.  The sites fromto O  may be viewed on Erris Beo map.  A special hand-book is available to download at local tourist offices. (10th October 2017[v]


[i] Mayo Arts Service (https://www.mayo.ie/arts/public-art/mayo-north-sculpture-trail) [Assessed 25th April 2020]

[ii] Visit North Mayo (https://www.discoverireland.ie/mayo/the-north-mayo-sculpture-trail) [Assessed 25th April 2020]

[iii] Home Tír Sáile (https://www.northmayoarttrail.com/en/home-english) [Assessed 25th April 2020]

[iv] Walking (http://belmulletcgs.com/walking/) [Assessed 25th April 2020]

[v] Tir Sáile http://visitbelmullet.ie/gowilddetails/tir-saile-sculpture-trail/) [Assessed 25th April 2020]

[vi] Tír Sáile (https://www.mayo-ireland.ie/en/things-to-do/museums/tir-saile.html) [Assessed 25th April 2020]

[vii] Tír Sáile (https://www.northmayo.ie/tir-saile-the-north-mayo-sculpture-trail/) [Assessed 25th April 2020]

[viii] Home Tír Sáile (https://www.northmayoarttrail.com/en/home-english) [Assessed 25th April 2020]

[ix] Ibid

[x] The Mayo News


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