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
Critiques | Translate
rigoletto (33778) 2013-12-31 10:18
hi noel. are you attending an arts course? this is so powerful, dramatic and open to many readings. first i thought it could be a better idea to keep the sun behind the statue, but looking at the result for a few seconds now i prefer this. very well done. happy new year!
Subhogen (4043) 2013-12-31 11:01
Going through your note I was thinking mythology around the world are so alike...in India too we have numerous such stories about curse, penance, turning humans to animals, jealousy the elements are all the same. Had a great time reading it.
This is a fantastic statue coming from a very skillful and innovative person. I wonder how the spark of such a brilliant idea comes to an artists mind and I believe creativity is an inborn thing and cannot be inculcated. You have taken the photo from such a great POV that both the views are apparent to the viewer. With the backdrop of this brooding sky the photo itself has become very artistic. Very well managed difficult light situation.
We in India know more about England because of the 200 year British rule in India. Thanks to your fantastic photos and painstakingly typed educative notes I came to know so many things about Ireland which are absolutely new to me. So thanks for sharing and hoping to see many more such wonderful presentations in the coming year.
Wish you a very Happy and Healthy 2014 and Happy Clicking as well.
fisher (1719) 2013-12-31 12:37
nice one Noel, moody sky's are two to a penny in ireland!!! well worth waiting for the right sky to backdrop this statue.
new years greetings.
mesutilgim (76804) 2013-12-31 13:55
Hello dear Noel,
Nice capture symbolising the years end !
Amazing cloudy sky symbolising all the worse events of 2013.
Thanks God that it passes away !
TFS and all the best for the new year .
emka (68666) 2013-12-31 14:42
hello noel, I saw the sculpture in Dublin but I view of the did n't know the legend behind it. What a cruel story! spectacular view of the birds silhouettes against dramatic sky. Fantastic presentation of amazing sculpture. Let's hope the last year with its dramas is behind us and there will be peace. Happy New Year to you!
ath bhliain faoi mhaise
delpeoples (50695) 2013-12-31 18:41
Happy New Year dear friend, I hope the head is not too sore from the festivities, and hope that 2014 brings you everything you wish for.
In thumbnail I thought this was a tree blown by the wind, but upon closer inspection and reading your note, see that it is a very symbolic and beautiful sculpture, just as your title is. The composition ( Rule of Thirds in The Extreme) does great justice to that dramatic sky and clouds, aswell as the beautiful pastel tones it evoke. I like how you positioned the sculpture slightly off-centre, where it looks like it has almost conjured the clouds to fly like that. Wonderful note as usual and the small bit of silvery sea makes me want to see more of it.
Warmest wishes and hugs
bukitgolfb301 (33734) 2013-12-31 20:28
Hi dear Noel
A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014 !!
Wow you start an impressive image from the first of 2014! Very well considered framework and delight alight light / color gradation as usual.
All the best and have the first day of new year! Takero from warm and fine day's Tokyo
Kamilutka (6719) 2013-12-31 22:59
nice shot and interesting note accompanying it. I like how the statue has been placed slightly at the right and it looks almost like wind swept tree. Beautiful sky for a background and very pretty colors.
All the best in New Year!
jjcordier (70567) 2014-01-01 0:04
Comme toujours, une note détaillée et très intéressante pour accompagner cette photo originale.
Je te souhaite, à toi et tes proches, la meilleure année 2014 possible!
Tigerlily (2499) 2014-01-01 1:33
Wonderful image, beautifully taken.. nice POV....
A very Happy New Year to you,Noel.
aleXundar (1256) 2014-01-01 3:17
The sky is as dramatic as it should be... the light is as measured as it should be. I think all these were automatically set when you shot it... because YOU wanted to portray the atmosphere this way.
Wishing you and yours a very happy 2014,
marabu61 (6521) 2014-01-01 3:24
I must admit that I struggled a fait bit to make out the female form in this interesting statue. I think I have heard the story before, never the less it still is a strong folklore.
The silhouetted statue sits nicely against a wonderful brooding sky. The perfect motif and apply named to celebrate the passing of the years.
May the new year bring happiness, joy and health to you and your family.
carlo62 (23738) 2014-01-01 3:48
Buon anno Noel
bella scultura, molto interessante la sua costruzione, la descrizione della nota è ottima per apprezzarla.
Un cielo molto drammatico fa da sfondo all'opera, in una bella composizione.
Felice anno nuovo
Romano46 (15644) 2014-01-01 6:53
una immagine emblematica e drammatica come la storia che racconti nelle note.
La contrapposizione tra la struttura metallica che assume un duplice significato e il paesaggio che, al sereno ed al chiarore dell'orizzonte, contrappone nuvole che fanno presagire una tempesta imminente, è perfetta.
Non potevi fare di meglio per illustrare una simile località e il
tutto senza dimenticare le regole di una buona fotografia e della composizione.
Complimenti e - di nuovo - auguri di un felice anno nuovo.
Fis2 (79806) 2014-01-01 8:39
I like composition and colors.
Photo ha climate.
Happy New Year to you and your family.
nikkitta (11170) 2014-01-01 10:07
Not easy to see the feminine figure, but found it and enjoy reading your note about this Irish legend
Like the composition mainly of contrasts with the silhouette well positioned and that storming sky giving an special light at the art work
Hoping to see and learn more about Ireland
Gigidusud (12193) 2014-01-01 11:15
Hi dear Noel,
Beautiful composition at Sunset with nice sculpture in silhouette. Well done!
Thanks for the wishes and Happy New Year to you and your!
ourania (22778) 2014-01-01 11:22
a lovely minimal image that captures and enhances the magic of this popular (and now familiar to me) myth. The silhouetted sculpture interacts superbly with the sweeping clouds and the stunning depth of your picture. I like very much the subtle lighting, the deep, moody colours, the association of the children of Lir with this great space and with the changing of the year. Let's hope we won't have to wait hundreds of years for a positive transformation:) Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a wonderful year,
divail (8266) 2014-01-02 13:33
Ce ciel est magnifique, et la sculpture est très bien présentée de cette façon.
Je vous souhaite une très bonne année 2014!
marina7 (8029) 2014-01-03 8:44
interesting sculpture, it looks even more eye-catching the way you captured it all black against the glaring sun. The sky seemed to follow the mood and provided a most dramatic sweep for the backdrop. Lovely.
Miguel82 (17319) 2014-01-20 5:15
The statue is like a tree deformed by the winds and the leaves are actually birds, good inspiration Noel, the sunset is splendid, thanks, see you
fabbs99 (14463) 2014-01-25 7:45
Remarkable shot of the clouds in the sky and the statue of the Children.Lovely colors and excellent sharpness.Very well done.TFS.