Mammoth sculpture begins

Award Winning artist Monaghan-based Mark Kelly commissioned for project.

Work to reanimate an historic legacy of mammoth proportions in the town of Belturbet has got underway.

Award Winning artist Monaghan-based Marc Kelly has begun work on the project which has been commissioned by local development group, Project Belturbet.

Back in November last year a proposal was submitted to planners to erect the life-sized structure of a wooly mammoth, otherwise known by its scientific ‘Mammuthus primigenius’, together with associated site works at the former Railway Station Site, at Straheglin, Belturbet.

It had previously been hoped to house the Mammoth within the picturesque confines of Turbet Island, which has already received significant investment with the launch of the local artist, Jackie O’Neill’s inspired Dreamscape Trail.

The works planned for the Railway Station site will see the erection of the mammoth structure, measuring 10 by 14 feet, placed on a base that will blend into the surrounding ground.

Works will also include a “gravel viewing area” with two benches nearby.

It was previously believed that the first ever remnants in Europe of a prehistoric woolly mammoth were found on Turbet Island.

However, it was subsequently discovered, following extensive research carried out by The Anglo-Celt, that the discovery was made on lands through which the Bunnoe River runs, surrounded by the townlands of Magherintemple, Lattacapple, Corrinshingo and Coppanagh.

The Belturbet connection was established as the first account regarding the remains was provided by a prominent town resident, Francis Nevill. This account was later transcribed by renowned naturalist Thomas Molyneux in the Royal Society’s journal ‘Philosophical Translations’ in 1715.

Nevill first announced the discovery of mammoth remains ‘near Belturbet’ in 1714, after bones were dug up during the excavation of a mill on the border between Cavan and Monaghan.

Artists Mark Kelly specialises in sculptural work, and has previously exhibited for such galleries as The MAC – Belfast, Titanic Centre – Belfast, The Waterfront – Belfast, Leitrim Sculpture Centre – Manorhamilton, National Botanic Gardens – Dublin, Market House – Monaghan, Market Place – Armagh.

His work adorns also Rossmore Park in Co Monaghan, including an installation titled ‘Banba – Queen of all the Drumlin Giants’, formed using over 4000 pieces of up-cycled timber. Her hair was formed using storm damaged timber from the woods in the park.

At Hillsborough Forest Park he designed a 25ft tall geometric fibreglass and steel Hare.

Last year Kelly’s sculpture “Conflict” won as a Bronze A’ Design Award in the Arts & Crafts Ready Made Category at the A Design Awards.