A new sculpture of Gulliver from the novel ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ was unveiled at Lilliput Way in Kilteevan last Thursday by guest of honour, Cllr. Joe Murphy (Cathaoirleach, Roscommon County Council). The project, an initiative of Kilteevan Tidy Towns, was funded by Roscommon County Council Creative Ireland Programme 2021.
The event was attended by the Tidy Towns Committee, staff and pupils of Kilteevan National School and Junior Tidy Towns, county councillors and staff of Roscommon County Council, the Community Wetlands Forum, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and residents/landowners of the Cloonlarge Loop.
Lilliput Way, which is located on the Cloonlarge Loop in Kilteevan, gets its name from an old turf-cutting machine that was found on the bog there, which was called a Lilliput. The inspiration for the new sculpture came from the novel ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Jonathan Swift, in which the main character Gulliver visits a land called Lilliput, where the people are very tiny, making him a giant to them.
The Kilteevan Tidy Towns Committee saw an opportunity to bring Gulliver to life on Lilliput Way, and in doing so, also honour Jonathan Swift’s legacy. Swift’s mental health advocacy is shared by the committee, whose work on the Cloonlarge Loop revolves around promoting physical and mental wellbeing in a healthy environment.
Following a successful application for funding under the Creative Ireland Programme, Kilteevan Tidy Towns commissioned Mark Feeley to sculpt a friendly giant’s head for Lilliput way on the Cloonlarge Loop. As the project evolved, the decision was made to add a hand and a butterfly to the sculpture. The stone for Gulliver’s head came from Lecarrow Quarry and weighed 18 ton. When it was complete, Gulliver’s head weighed 13 ton, and the stone for the hand weighed 5 ton.
Eileen Fahey (Chairperson, Kilteevan Tidy Town) spoke at the event, thanking Mark Feeley for his hard work and dedication and commending the countless voluntary hours he spent on the project, also giving thanks to Neal Geraghty, Majella Hunt, Rhona McGrath, Áine Butler and Ruairí Ó hAodha of Roscommon County Council, as well as Laura Gallagher (National Parks and Wildlife Service), the residents/landowners of Cloonlarge and Annaghmore, Fiona Dunne (FD Design), Pat Hoey (Roscommon Signs), and Padraig Cuddy (Class Grass): “We seldom get an opportunity to make a unique contribution to the world, and I think Gulliver for Lilliput Way, through The Creative Ireland Programme and Roscommon County Council, was one such opportunity” she said.
Mark Feeley commended all who lent a helping hand with the sculpture, also thanking Kilteevan Tidy Towns Committee and Eileen Fahey for being the driving force behind the project.
Cllr. Joe Murphy, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, congratulated Mark on his excellent sculpture and praised Kilteevan Tidy Towns for all their hard work in developing the area, highlighting the importance of community groups and supporting projects related to our physical and mental health.