Cow sculptor in the market for commissions

An out-of-work craftsman is hoping the “fantastic reaction” to his 22-ton sculpture depicting a market day scene can result in him finding employment again.

Saturday was the first market day in Ennis at which farmers and traders got to see the two 7.5ft farmers haggling over the price of the 6ft granite cow. The €40,000 sculpture is in the centre of the market area in Ennis.

Sculptor Barry Wrafter said: “The piece is getting a fantastic reaction. I’m delighted with that. People driving around the market are rubbernecking to get a better look at the piece and I saw others get on top of the cow. It’s great that people are interacting with it.”

Mr Wrafter, who spent 18 months sculpting the piece, said: “The positive response is brilliant and that’s all very good but I am badly in need of work. All that matters to me right now is to get another job.”

Previously, the late broadcaster Gerry Ryan came to Mr Wrafter’s rescue after a developer who commissioned a sculpture of a red and grey squirrel couldn’t pay for it after he got into financial difficulties.

After Mr Wrafter made his appeal through Ryan’s RTÉ 2FM programme, the piece was purchased by a Cork-based art collector.

‘Market Day’ forms the latest piece of the Ennis Sculpture Initiative that has resulted in sculptures being dotted around the Clare town.

Others include a sculpture of Bishop of Killaloe Dr Willie Walsh’s hands; a commemoration of a pauper’s grave at Drumcliffe cemetery and a piece celebrating Ennis’s 1997 Information Age Town win.

Chairman of the Ennis Sculpture Initiative Noel Crowley said he was “absolutely delighted with the piece”.

“Barry Wrafter is very talented. It has been a long wait to get this in place, but it has been worth it.

“The replacement value on all of the sculptures we have put in place through the initiative is in excess of €1m. It is a signature of Ennis and enhances the local environment. Local people take the initiative for granted to some extent but it is for them, and if it is also a tourist attraction, all the better,” Mr Crowley said.

He said that there are currently no plans to commission another sculpture. “It is a period of consolidation — to mind what we have,” he added.

“Ennis is a small medieval town but we are punching above our weight on this one.”


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