A LOCAL stone-carving artist has been selected to create the long-awaited city monument to honour Kilkenny’s soldiers.
Aileen-Anne Brannigan, whose workshop is in the Castlecomer Discovery Park, will hand-carve the monument, which is to acknowledge people from Kilkenny who have served in all armies at home and abroad. She has already designed a miniature model of the memorial stone, and will now set about producing the real thing.
It has also now been confirmed that the monument, a standing stone, is to be located at Canal Square in the city. The 1.2 metre-high rectangular stone will be made of Kilkenny limestone, and is expected to be completed by early summer.
Details of the project were finalised last week at a borough council meeting, when Mayor David Fitzgerald announced that Ms Brannigan had produced a piece in line with what had been envisaged and within budget. The drawings and a small scale model had been shown to members in city hall.
Ms Brannigan said that she hoped to begin the piece soon.
“It’s a real honour to be doing this,” she said.
“I did one for the commemoration ceremony before. But this one is more personal to Kilkenny itself.”
On the top of the memorial stone, there will be a mounded dome featuring an ancient celtic symbol carving - a triskele, which is a triple spiral design. A band of open chisel work is to encircle the piece, the purpose of which is to expose the stone’s natural beauty.
The exact wording of the commemorative inscription, to be written on the side of the stone, has not yet been decided. It will be done in v-cut incised, hand-carved lettering.
Ms Brannigan says that the choice of the Canal Square location is ideal, given the surrounding limestone walls and the backdrop of the castle. Appropriately, the piece will be of limestone quarried near the spot - from McKeon Stone in Threecastles.
“McKeon’s have a very good quality of stone,” said Ms Brannigan.
“It’s really nice, and particularly bright in colour.”
The monument has been hailed as a progressive step in honouring soldiers of all traditions, and putting to bed some of the divisions of the past. When details of the project were first announced in November of last year, Labour councillor Sean O’ hArgain said it was a hugely significant moment for Kilkenny.