The renowned sculptor who immortalised hurling giant Christy Ring in bronze has turned his attention to celebrate a living legend.

Artist Seán MacCarthy spent yesterday putting the finishing touches to a new sculpture of traditional Irish singing giant, Seán Ó Sé, who visited the National Sculpture Factory for one of the final sittings for the piece.

Mr MacCarthy said the man known to most as ‘The Pocar’ was a pleasure to work with.

“I love music and Irish folklore and Seán likes to sing. We would chat during the sittings, I would ask him questions, and he would often break into song, which allowed me to see how he operates,” he said.

“I was able to respond to that, to his body action. I would like to think that the piece has a sense of music about it, a sense of musical rhythm, if you like.”

Mr MacCarthy, who trained as a painter before specialising in sculpture from the early 1990s, has undertaken many private and public commissions, including the landmark 2006 8.5ft-high statue of Christy Ring, which is on display outside Cork Airport, and the 7ft3in-high statue of US President Bill Clinton, wielding a driver, which was unveiled in Ballybunion, Co Kerry in 1998, to commemorate Mr Clinton’s golfing visit to the town’s famous links golf course.

He also created the Ned Power sculpture near Tallow in Co Waterford; the Blacksmith sculpture in Coolagown, near Conna; a statue of Willie Brennan, the Irish Highwayman in Kilworth, Co Cork; a piece called Eden, in the Port of Cork gardens at Tivoli; as well as busts of Patrick Galvin and the artist Willie Harrington.

Seán O’Se with Seán MacCarthy at the National Sculpture Factory. The bust is 90% complete, with two firings and painting to be done
Seán O’Se with Seán MacCarthy at the National Sculpture Factory. The bust is 90% complete, with two firings and painting to be done

Douglas-based Mr MacCarthy, 60, a brother of renowned singer-songwriter, Jimmy McCarthy, said in an effort to promote his portrait sculpting abilities, he approached Mr Ó Sé to offer him a portrait sculpture.

He said he was delighted when Mr Ó Sé agreed to sit for him.

Over the last six weeks, he has created a ceramic piece depicting Mr Ó Sé, from the waist up, with his hands raised in full performance mode.

“From a personal point of view, it has meant a great deal to me to work on this piece,” Mr MacCarthy said.

“It may nay not be on the scale of Christy Ring or Bill Clinton, but it’s right up there in terms of Irish, and Cork folklore.

“We often make a big fuss about someone when they’re gone so I’m really delighted that I got a chance to celebrate someone when they’re still alive, and that he gets to enjoy it too.”

Mr Ó Sé recorded the famous song, ‘An Poc ar Buile’, in 1962 and has described it as “his passport to the world”, gifting him a singing career which has spanned six decades.

He has performed it at venues including the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, at the National Folk Theatre in Cuba, and in Moscow.


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