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Sculpture At The Castle: Sand And Science In The Upper Courtyard

A beach has not exactly come to Dublin Castle, but you can see wonderful sand sculptures there until 2nd September (bucket and spade not required). The three huge pieces on show are the work of a group called Duthain Dealbh (which means Fleeting Sculpture) whose members are Daniel Doyle and Niall and Alan Magee. They specialise in making artworks from sand, ice, snow and fire as well as doing art films and documentaries.

The group members all studied Fine Art Sculpture at DIT before forming Duthain Dealbh in 2001. They have created ephemeral artworks for events all over the world and this is their tenth such event in Dublin. For us, it has become something of a summer ritual to go and see the castle sculptures. Almost the best part about the event is being able to watch the artists at work, as it is not often you get to watch a piece of work emerging from the raw material. Sadly, this year we missed the big sculpt-off but headed along on a sunny afternoon (rare enough) to go and inspect the temporary residents of the castle courtyard.

This years’ theme is Bright Sparks, which offers an interpretation of Ireland’s scientific achievement. The sculpture group have artistically turned eighty tonnes of sand into a snapshot of the history of Irish science. My favourite piece was the one representing William Rowan Hamilton carving his quaternion multiplication equation onto Broom Bridge in Cavan on 16th October 1843. For the mathematically curious, the equation in full is i2 = j2 = k2 = ijk = – 1 (not that my skills are good enough to understand Hamilton’s work).

If I quibble about anything, it is that the pieces lack any kind of labelling or interpretation for visitors. There are information panels showing previous work from the artists but nothing about the present, which is not very helpful. Having said that, I suppose it exercises the little grey cells to try to work out what all of the details on the sculptures mean.

Until September 2nd  – for further information see below:
www.duthain-dealbh.com
www.irishsand.com

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