Scott Tallon Walker
 
 
 
 
 

Tulach a' tSolais Memorial

 

 

1996 - 1998
Oulart Hill, Co. Wexford

Client
Tulach a' tSolais Committee Co. Wexford

Awards
Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland / Gold Medal - Highly Commended
1989 - 1991


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The Challenge

The construction of a tulach or burial mound, as a place of connection between the world of the living and the "other world" was common in ancient Ireland. The United Irishmen's uprising of 1798, fuelled by the revolutionary example of the United States and France, took place at Oulart Hill. Victory led to the establishment of the fledgling Wexford Republic; defeat at Vinegar Hill three weeks later, on the summer solstice, June 21st, marked its eclipse. Tulach a' tSolais, was built to commemorate the bicentenary of this rebellion and is the product of dynamic collaboration between the sculpture Micheal Warren and Dr. Ronald Tallon. 

The Building

Upon arrival, there are no carved names, no flames, no pools of water. This is a much older kind of memorial. Warren recalls Tallon saying, "What we want, Michael, is to go over a broken stone wall and be there. The approach should be like the surprise of finding a fairy ring."Tallon chose white concrete for its "pallor of death", illuminated by "the light of resurrection." "We wanted a basic monolithic material of strength and nobility," says Tallon, "with which to create a modern Stonehenge."

Tallon calls Warren's two sculptures - horizontal curving tablets of 200-year-old Irish oak that make a shrine of the interior - "upturned hands, offering hope for the future." Warren likens them to the cremation bowls found in Newgrange.  

The Details

Mathematical, abstract, without apparent function and totally memorable, the chamber adheres to the classical laws of harmonic proportion. On plan, it is a double square. A cut through the chamber reveals the golden section: the ratio of its height to width equals the ratio of its width to the sum of its height and width.