After almost four weeks of cleaning, conserving and painting, the Metal Man, Sligo, is once again ship-shape and Bristol fashion. The cast-iron Jack Tar, a navigation beacon located mid-channel between Rosses Point and Oyster Island, has pointed to safe passage into Sligo Harbour ever since it was first unveiled in 1821. The figure with outstretched arm was designed by the Cork-born sculptor, Thomas Kirk (1781-1845), and has a twin near Tramore in County Waterford
The Metal Man has been a source of inspiration to many and was immortalised by Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) in a series of watercolours including “Memory Harbour” (1900). The Metal Man continues to inspire and locals and visitors to Yeats Country have watched the works in progress and appreciated that the conservation has been carried out to exacting standards.
The conservation, a joint effect between the Infrastructure Directorate of Sligo County Council and Sligo Heritage Office, was made possible by a grant of €25,500 from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage under the Historic Structures Fund 2020 with matching funding from Sligo County Council. The conservation has seen The Metal Man rejuvenated just in time to celebrate his 200th birthday in 2021.
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Photo credit: Omedia