Myles After Myles
Public Sculpture Commission for Strabane, Co. Tyrone
The over-lifesize sculpture of writer and satirist Brian O’Nolan aka Myles na gCopaleen was unveiled in Strabane, Co. Tyrone on the 2nd December 2013. Dressed in his iconic coat and Fedora hat, he is leaning against three 2.5m high first editions of his most famous books, including An Béal Bocht, at Swim-Two-Birds and The Dalkey Archive. The work is located on the junction of Railway Street and Abercorn Square in front of the library and Alley Theatre building. The title of the work is a play on O'Nolan's collection of An Cruiskeen Lawn articles published under the title Myles before Myles. The work was fabricated in cast and repoussé sheet bronze in the artist's studio foundry. The images and text of the covers were punched using the PicturePerf process by Graepel Ltd. and are illuminated with internal LED lighting at night.
About Myles na gCopaleen
One of Strabane’s most prominent cultural figures is the novelist and satirist Brian O'Nolan (Brian Ó Nuallain) who was born on the 5th October 1911 and grew up in an Irish-speaking household in the town. The family moved to Dublin during his childhood, where he later became a civil servant. O'Nolan published most of his works under the nom de plume Flann O'Brien, including the post-modernist novel At Swim-Two-Birds,1939 The Third Policeman, published in 1966 and The Dalkey Archive, 1964. Under his other pseudonym, Myles na gCopaleen, he was renown for the satirical column Cruiskeen Lawn in the Irish Times but also published An Béal Bocht (The Poor Mouth) in 1941 under this name. His satiric style and often surreal imagination made O'Nolan a celebrated key figure in European Postmodern literature, highly rated at his time by Joyce and Beckett. O'Nolan died in Dublin on the 1st April 1966. O'Nolan's position among Ireland's celebrated literary talents and the location of the proposed public artwork in front of Strabane's public library provide an appropriate and fitting context for the proposed artwork with great relevance for the vibrant market town of Strabane.
All materials, travel and fuel used in the making of the sculpture and the base amounted to 40GJ of embodied energy (EEV) or an equivalent of 11,120kWh of energy. The value is considerably low, due to the use of recycled materials where possible and the introduction of Bronze Age moulding and metal working methods. The average annual energy consumption per person in Ireland, in comparison, is 135GJ. The average downcycling/recycling fraction of all materials was 38% while the total landfill waste produced was approx. 60kg. A total of 3.84t metric tons of carbon dioxide was emitted through materials and processes in fabrication. About 40% of this accounts for transport emission. Over the estimated design life of 50 years, the values will increase to 44GJ EEV and 66kg CO2 respectively due to maintenance and low-energy lighting (total consumption 40W). At the end of its life, the sculpture will be c. 90% recyclable. View full Environmental Impact Analysis here.