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Pictured here is a statue of the Children of Lir by Irish artist Linda Brunker. It stands before Lough Owel at a viewpoint over the lake.

The statue is of a flock of birds in a V formation, which when viewed from the correct angle, takes on the form of a female figure with her arms outstretched. In this shot, you can make out the outline of the profile of the female figure, and can just see the shape of her face. It was completed in 1993.

Lough Owel is one of the largest lakes in County Westmeath, and is 4km away from the major town of Mullingar. It covers roughly 2500 acres and is extremely deep, making it very popular with anglers. There is an island in the lake called Church island, and on it stands the ruins of St Lomans church and cemetery. Its been abandoned for a long time and the last burial took place in the early 18th century.

The background to the legend of the Chldren of Lir is that in ancient Irish lore, Lir and his wife Aoibh had four children; their daughter Fionnuala, and three sons, Aodh and twin brothers Fiachra and Conn.

Aoibh died, and the family despairing, Lir married another woman by the name of Aoife. She was a resentful woman, and was incredibly jealous of the love the children had for their father.

On a journey, she ordered a servant to kill the children, but he angrily refused. Aoife was infuriated and tried to kill the children herself, but did not have courage. Instead, she used her magic powers to transform the children into swans.

To break the curse, they had to spend a total of 900 years swimming the waters of Lough Derravaragh, the Sea of Moyle, and Irrus Domnann. If they were blessed by a monk during this time, they would also break free. This story is set during the time of St Patrick's transformation of Ireland into a Christian place.

For her treachery, Aoife was turned into an air demon. There are a number of alternate endings to the legend, one being that the children, trapped as swans, suffered their 900 years, and one day heard a bell. They swam to the shore and spoke with the priest on land. They asked to be blessed and turned back into human form, and the priest obliged. However, as they were over 900 years old, they immediately died, but went straight to heaven to be with their mother and father.

The title of this sculpture is The Children of Lir, but I named my shot Transformation for both the way the children transformed in the tale, and in how today 2013 will transform into 2014.

The children of Lir is a popular Irish legend, and this can be noticed by the number of sculptures depicting the tale around the country! This is the 4th that I have photographed, and I know there are still others I have not yet visited!

I wish a happy new year to everybody!

Thanks for looking

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2507 W: 12 N: 5950] (20694)
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