Clonmacnoise exhibition launched for Offaly Heritage Week

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Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Dan Edwards followed in his father’s footsteps as a blacksmith, immersed in the everyday work of a smith, welding and repairing machinery and making gates.

However, Dan was always interested in sculpture and fine crafts and the challenge of creating objects of art from scratch.  Despite any formal training, and the demands of switching back and forth between craftwork and his everyday work, Dan Edwards produced a large and varied collection of inspiring art. The Office of Public Works is delighted to showcase some of Dan’s work at an exhibition in Clonmacnoise during Heritage Week.

Speaking at the launch of the exhibition, Minister for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin Moran noted that Dan had been a great friend to the OPW and had a great love for Clonmacnoise. The Minister said, “Dan was always concerned for the care and preservation of the heritage of Clonmacnoise. Staff working at Clonmacnoise would consult with Dan from time to time, particularly during the building of the Visitor Centre here in the 1990s. He took a great interest in that project and his expertise and knowledge were very much appreciated.”

Dan was involved in a number of projects in Clonmacnoise, including the mounting of the grave slabs in the display area and the execution of the beautiful plaque, which usually hangs over the entrance to the Visitor Centre.  The plaque, inspired by the Clonmacnoise grave slab ‘Or Ar Fiachraidh’, with a centre piece of brass and a metal surround, celebrates the establishment of the monastic settlement in 545 AD.  It shows St. Ciarán and Diarmuid marking the foundation of the monastery and includes other imagery associated with the folklore of St. Ciarán.  This piece, along with a number of other pieces of Dan Edward’s work, are on display in Temple Connor, Clonmacnoise until Sunday 27th August.

The Minister went on to say, “Dan’s contribution as an artist and to his community has been immense and this is evidenced by the wonderful book by Declan Ryan dedicated to him which is titled -  The life and Times of a Craftsman and Artist.  His work simply speaks for itself and I would urge as many as possible to come to visit Clonmacnoise during Heritage Week and see at first hand this wonderful exhibition of his art and craft.”

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