Park sculptures hacked and destroyed

The Greenland white fronted goose sculpture after the attack
The head of the beautiful heron sculpture was hacked off

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MINDLESS vandals have destroyed two painstakingly created wooden sculptures in Killarney National Park at Knockreer, KillarneyToday.com can reveal.

The stunning hand-carved works of art were part of an eye-catching series of seven sculptures located along the scenic River Deenagh walkway at Knockreer, opposite St Mary’s Cathedral.

The original carvings of a Greenland white fronted goose and a heron were targeted and destroyed – possibly under the cover of darkness – with the head of the heron hacked off and only the feet of the goose sculpture remaining on the wooden plinth after the rest was cut away.

The goose sculpture before the vandals pounced
The striking heron carving before the attack

The wanton act of vandalism has caused shock and upset in the town and it is expected to lead to calls for greater policing of the park in the area near the municipal playground which is a known night-time gathering spot.

The much admired sculptures were commissioned and erected by the Killarney Tidy Towns Committee and Kerry County Council – through the community support fund – with the aim of helping children to get a greater understanding of the nature and wildlife in the national park.

Killarney Tidy Towns Committee volunteers Yvonne Quill (right) and Kathleen Foley at the unveiling of the heron carving last February

“We are heartbroken by this wanton vandalism,” said Tidy Towns Committee Chairperson, Yvonne Quill.

“Our money is on a shoestring so this is devastating,” she told KillarneyToday.com.

This week’s attack was not the first time it has happened and just last July two of the sculptures had pieces broken off and some of the polished woodwork was destroyed with gaping holes cut into the feature pieces.

The seven meticulously carved sculptures, beautifully set on natural wood plinths, depicted an owl, a red squirrel, an otter, a heron, a kingfisher, a pine marten and a Greenland white fronted goose and they were unveiled last February.

The mini sculpture trail is hugely popular with pupils from the local national schools who are able to learn from a storyboard all about the wildlife in the area.

It also created a new visual experience to be enjoyed by the tens of thousands of people that walk in the Killarney National Park every year.

The hand-carved pieces are the work of wood carving specialist Sol Solomon of Wyrdwood in West Cork and the idea behind the sculpture walk was to encourage children to watch out for and pay attention to the wildlife on their doorsteps.

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