Sentinels (flew through the ages in the shape of birds)

A lane-length sculptural piece on Carey's Lane

‘Sentinels’ (flew through the ages in the shape of birds) by artist Niamh McCann is a lane-length sculptural piece influenced by the architecture, geography, and incidental features along the length of Carey’s lane in Cork city centre. The work is fixed above head height on the lane and is held by the simple image of a seagull, perched atop a neon strip, sentinel-like on either end of Carey's Lane. The sculpture is intended to be intriguing and playful, animating the lane by day and by night - a work that is both intimate and dynamic and responds to the shifting shape of the city.


‘Sentinels’ is a nod to the old and the new - from Cork City’s diverse and migratory history and its merchant and yachting tradition to its welcoming of new cultures and its urban adaptability. Using a combination of contemporary materials and craft, the installation explores the themes of travel and landscape and draws a line from one end of the lane to the other.


The artist was also influenced by the inhabitants and geography of the lane such as the history of craft, culture and the presence of the Huguenot graveyard. McCann worked with sustainable materials that work well in outdoor settings such as bronze, jesmonite, and cedar wood. The red rope that links the pieces is a nod to the Rebel county’s traditional colour.


About the Artist

Irish artist Niamh McCann is represented in the collections of Irish Museum of Modern Art; The Arts Council of Ireland; Limerick City Gallery, Swansea City Council; The London Institute; Hiscox, London and that of Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane.  McCann studied at Chelsea College of Art & Design, London. Within her diverse practice, incorporating drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and video, McCann considers themes of globalisation, urbanisation, travel and the self.