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Irish artist's sculpture honours Heart's Content's transatlantic cable

Irish artist Padraig Tarrant stands beside a stone sculpture unveiled in Heart's Content Thursday to commemorate the transatlantic telegraph cable. He created a matching piece for Valentia Island, Ireland.
Irish artist Padraig Tarrant stands beside a stone sculpture unveiled in Heart's Content Thursday to commemorate the transatlantic telegraph cable. He created a matching piece for Valentia Island, Ireland.

HEART'S CONTENT, NL — The historic link between Heart's Content and Ireland was further solidified last week with new art dedicated to the transatlantic telegraph cable.

The stone sculpture of a bollard with cable looping around it into the ground serves as a representation of the historic cable laid undersea in 1866. Irish artist Padraig Tarrant was in Heart's Content Thursday for the official unveiling, and he made a matching monument for Valentia Island, Ireland.

Speaking before a large crowd who came out for the unveiling, Tarrant noted he was originally asked to create a sculpture for the Irish end of the cable to mark the 150th anniversary in 2016. Subsequently, the idea of creating a matching sculpture for Heart's Content came up, and Tarrant was on board.

"People say to me, 'Oh, that was like the internet of the day.' I think it was bigger than the internet," Tarrant, whose hometown is close to Valentia Island, said Thursday.

"It was a whole new frontier. It took something that took a week or maybe 10 days or two weeks to get a message across the Atlantic, and now all of a sudden it was instantaneous. It was a miracle of communication, and just the logistical challenge of it, I think we should be in awe of the people who went before us and the things they did to make this work, and I'm really delighted to have my name associated with this."

Each bollard was designed with native stone to serve as an extension of the surrounding landscape. An inscribed plaque accompanies each sculpture. The sculpture in Heart's Content is located across from the historic Cable Station along the shoreline.

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Heart's Content Mayor Fred Cumby was appreciative of Tarrant's work.

"I really want to thank Padraig for bringing this to us," he said. "There's a symbolism that goes with it. It connects Heart's Content with Valentia, and really, that can't be stressed enough, that Heart's Content and Ireland are united when it comes to the transatlantic cable."

editor@cbncompass.ca

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