Battle of Ardnaree artwork to be unveiled in north Mayo town

THE Battle of Ardnaree artwork project is nearing completion, Ballina Community Clean Up Group have announced.

The artwork will be unveiled at an open-air ceremony on Friday next, August 5, from 8 to 10 p.m.

Local trad musicians will come together at the site of the artwork on Ridge Pool Road, near the salmon weirs, for a two-hour feast of great live trad music prior to the unveiling.

The goal of the project is to commemorate the slaughter, by the English army, of 3,000 Scots in Ardnaree in 1586 in what was a historic time for the town, county, province and country.

The Battle of Ardnaree project involves four phases:

An enormous art installation at the canalside, Ballina, representing the hugely significant day in Irish history that has been long forgotten. (Completed and can be viewed from either side of the River Moy).

A full-length documentary film, based on historic facts, detailing the events and those involved in the run-up to September 23, 1586. (Completed and available to watch on YouTube).

The recording and release of a specially recorded song about the tragic event. (Completed and available on YouTube).

And phase four this Friday evening with the commemoration at the site of the new artwork at the canalside in Ballina.

The artwork is believed to be the largest in Connaught outside of Galway city and is situated along the banks of the Moy.

It was painted last autumn by local artists Brenna Rice, Meaghan McNamara, Kevin Loftus and Ciara Casey and was project managed by Dermot Rice on behalf of Ballina Community Clean Up Group.

Further features were added to the site by the group's engineer, Dermot Barrett, who made the information board on the artwork and the flagpoles for the historical banners that have now been installed on-site.

Carmel Gordon, a volunteer with the Jackie Clarke Collection, made an amazing contribution by sourcing and purchasing the map used by Bingham and his army at the time of the battle. The map confirms, beyond doubt, the location where the battle occurred.

The volunteers of Ballina Community Clean Up Group have worked tirelessly over recent weeks and months, and in some cases almost two years, in preparing for the creation of this new infrastructure in the town.

Local people and businesses have also answered the call for help, and wholeheartedly given their support to this project, through sponsoring their services and donating cash to help complete the ambitious plans.

A spokesperson for the event said: “This is one of the most important projects ever undertaken by our group. We have revealed the untold history of our town and are telling it through art, film, and song.

“We are certain that while respectfully remembering the human tragedy that was the Battle of Ardnaree, we can also promote the interests of our area by highlighting the deep history and the natural beauty of the land where we live today.”