Jungle safari to take in ‘every nook and cranny’ of town

Two dozen animals — including tigers, orangutans, crocodiles, and elephants — will arrive in Clonakilty, Co Cork this week as part of a colourful project to transform the town into Ireland’s only jungle city.

Twenty-four life-size animal sculptures will be trucked to the popular tourist destination next Friday following a two-day ferry and road journey from London.

Over the next six weeks the sculptures will be painted and decorated by local artists, community groups, and schoolchildren, before being “released” on June 29.

An exotic “jungle safari” through the town, featuring the animals, has been planned in conjunction with the town council.

The project is expected to become a major visitor attraction for Clonakilty with colourful sculptures dotted about “in every nook and cranny of the town”, according to project manager Mary Powys.

The safari trail will start at the Cork Rd roundabout, where there is already an elephant in residence, continuing up Wolfe Tone St, Astna Square, O’Donovan’s Alley, and into Spillers Lane.

Other animal sculptures will be located at the town’s Model Railway Village, the beach at Inchydoney and the Park Rd bypass.

“Passers-by and motorists will encounter brightly painted tigers, orangutans, hornbills, crocodiles, and elephants as they walk through the town,” said Ms Powys.

“All of the animals will ‘talk’ with the help of a downloadable app and creative ideas to bring out the personality of the town are underway.”

The Clonakilty Macra na Feirme group is one of the organisations whose members will be helping to decorate the sculptures while local schoolchildren from St Joseph’s Girls’ National School, Scoil na mBuachailli, and the Clonakilty Gaelscoil have been selected to help to decorate a mother and baby elephant.

West Cork artists are submitting designs for the remaining sculptures to meet the deadline of May 28. Local businesses are getting involved also.

“Already more than half of the sculptures have been ‘adopted’ by local businesses and there is growing support from all kinds of people behind the event — it’s beginning to snowball,” said Ms Powys.

The aim of the project, which runs in conjunction with partner charity, Elephant Family and Sustainable Clonakilty, is to raise awareness of the plight of endangered animals.

* Artists living in West Cork who would like to get involved in the decorating the animals should contact:mary.powys@elephantfamily.org


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