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THE CONTROVERSIAL Púca statue is to be located in the home of the founder of the GAA.

Clare County Council have confirmed that the Michael Cusack Centre in Carron has been selected as the new home of the Púca which was originally planned to be erected in the heart of Ennistymon but amidst a series of controversies, a new expression of interest process began which saw the new home identified.

Ballyvaughan had attempted to house the Púca but “mutual added value” was said to have been the reason behind the Cusack Centre’s selection.

Two applications from Michael Cusack Centre, Carron and Ballyvaughan Community Development Group were subject to an adjudication process in which representatives of both groups presented their case for hosting the artwork to an independent panel of judges.

It is intended that the Púca will be erected at the Michael Cusack Centre in Carron next month (June). An annual Samhan/Púca Storytelling Festival on November 1st was proposed in the Centre’s application.

In their citation, the judges noted, “While both applicants put forward compelling arguments for hosting the sculpture, the operators of the Michael Cusack Centre demonstrated how there would be mutual added value to both the installation and the community-run visitor attraction, the location of which was historically named ‘Poll a Phúca’.”

“Michael Cusack Centre demonstrated compatibility to bringing the Púca to its natural home, confirming the interpretative element and story that will be told through the development of an educational aspect to the visitor attraction providing information on the Irish tradition and folklore collection of the Púca,” added the judges.

On their reasoning for not choosing the heart of Ballyvaughan, the judges explained, “the proposed location of the statue on community-owned land just outside the village of Ballyvaughan also scored highly. To locate the Púca within this location however, would be premature due to its position off a regional road and the lack of adequate pedestrian access to and lighting around the site.”

Inspired by Irish folklore and the locality’s equine heritage, the 2m-tall bronze art piece was originally commissioned by the Local Authority in 2021 as part of a significant capital project investment to increase visitor dwell time in Ennistymon and further enhance the overall appearance of the town.

Commenting on the Ballyvaughan Community Development application to host the artwork, the judges stated:

Creator of the Púca, Aidan Harte commented, “The Burren was always a hideout for renegades and outsiders so it’s the perfect haunt for a fairy rogue”. He added, “After last year’s hullabaloo all Ireland knows the Púca’s troublemaking reputation is well deserved but now at last people can go see The Scare from Clare for themselves. Of course, anyone brave enough to rub the Púca’s toe will have seven years’ luck. And as for the locals who kindly gave my lovely horse a home, they’ll have good luck on tap – hospitality is gold to The Good Folk.”

Dónal Ó hAiniféin, Cathaoirleach of the Board of Michael Cusack Centre said, “The Púca will be very welcome to Poll an Phúca in Carron at the Michael Cusack Homestead”. He outlined that the creation of the Samhain/Púca Storytelling Festival will “facilitate a better understanding of the tradition and place of the Púca in Irish Folklore, Heritage and Tradition”.

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