Laois has a new monumental sculpture, launched by the artist and Laois County County this Culture Night, 2022.
Protectour, designed by Canadian Irish artist James Hayes, now stands as a portal to the town, acknowledging its violent birth as a military fort, but hoped to become an iconic landmark for up to hundreds of years.
The sculpture beside the Laois GAA grounds O'Moore Park is made from poured polish concrete, created by Vincent Fitzpatrick of Uniqrete in Mountrath.
It was launched by Laois County Council's Cathaoirleach, Cllr Thomasina Connell.
"We are proud of this piece which is sure to become an important landmark for visitors and locals alike," she said.
CEO John Mulholland congratulated the sculptor as well as Uniqrete and Rina Whyte who curated the project. The selection panel; artists, Alan Phelan & Jock Nichol, Sally O Leary from Offaly Co Co and Rina White Curator and Muireann Ní Chonaill, and the Music Centre who supported the launch.
He also sent best wishes to Muireann Ní Chonaill who he said had given much time to the project but was unfortunately unable to attend the launch, with Donal Brennan stepping in as MC.
"It marks the Gateway to Portlaoise combining business, sports art and culture whilst reminding us of the history that preceded it and makes Portlaoise the town it is today," the CEO said.
Piper Joseph Byrne played a stunning version of The High Kings of Laois. Joseph from Athy began learning the Uilleann pipes aged 12 with Laois Music Generation, and now is a tutor himself there.
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