The Dandelion – a new public artwork for the M7 Motorway

The newly installed artwork "The Dandelion" by artist Michael Disley.
THE newly-installed artwork “The Dandelion” by artist Michael Disley at Rathnaveogue was provided under the Per Cent for Art Scheme in association with the N7 Castletown Nenagh Scheme led by Laois County Council under the auspices of the National Roads Authority and in partnership with North Tipperary County Council and Offaly County Council.

THE newly-installed artwork “The Dandelion” by artist Michael Disley at Rathnaveogue was provided under the Per Cent for Art Scheme in association with the N7 Castletown Nenagh Scheme led by Laois County Council under the auspices of the National Roads Authority and in partnership with North Tipperary County Council and Offaly County Council.

The €337 million 36km N7 Castletown-Nenagh motorway was funded by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan and Transport 21 and by the European Union from the Trans-European (TEN-T) Networks Budget and is benefiting the approximately 13,500 vehicles per day that use it.

Laois County Council, as the lead authority, in partnership with North Tipperary County Council invited submissions for the two-stage open competition and the project was awarded to artist Michael Disley, based in Holmfirth, UK through an independent selection panel process. Michael has over twenty years experience of working in the public art realm and has over seventy pieces sited in the UK, Europe and Japan.

The vision for this project was to commission an original and permanent artwork that reflects contemporary art practice and responds to the locale.

“The Dandelion” is a two-piece carving with a figure seen blowing at a base relief carved dandelion. The image depicts the journeys that all travellers make as we are scattered around the country. It also suggests the passage of time echoing the many archaeological sites along the route.

The large slab of stone takes inspiration from the shape of the Devil’s Bit Mountain Range with a piece seemingly bitten out of the rock. The four-metre high sculpture sited perpendicular to the motorway also gives the idea that the clocks blown from the dandelion are taken further on their journey by the passing vehicles.

The artist Michael Disley said: “I was initially inspired by the idea of a two-piece sculpture, one three-dimensional together with a large base relief. I like the idea of the contrast between these different elements and the fact that there is a narrative between them. Most of my sculpture has an element of humour in it and I do think that this is one of the reasons I have been commissioned to produce work in Ireland so often. This is my tenth large sculpture project across the Irish sea and if not the largest, certainly the highest. I hope that the work is well received and becomes part of the fabric of the area. It would be nice to imagine children in the future looking out for the dandelion as they travel along”.

Further information on this innovative project is available from the Arts Office in North Tipperary County Council 067 44860.