Monday 20 January 2020

It's out of this world -- zany artists link Red Planet to Letterkenny

Anita Guidera

The idea of twinning a place in Co Donegal with the planet Mars may sound out of this world, but it could become a reality within weeks.

As part of a new public art project, people have until the end of the week to submit suggestions for a part of Donegal which could be twinned with a physical feature on Mars to the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny.

The most suitable will then be forwarded to NASA, which will officially name a feature on Mars after somewhere in Donegal.

US-based arts group, the League of Imaginary Scientists, are behind the zany 'Lovely Weather Art and Climate Change Public Art Project'.

"The criteria are that it must be in the Milford/Letterkenny electoral area of Co Donegal and it can be a peninsula, an island, a beach, even a rock," said John Cunningham, assistant manager of the Regional Cultural Centre.

"We have had dozens of suggestions. In the end, it will mean that a little part of Mars will be permanently named after a place in Donegal."

Red island

One obvious location is Island Roy in Mulroy Bay, whose name translates as Red Island. The 90-acre piece of land is connected to the mainland by a short causeway and has a population of less than 20.

The twinning with Mars is one of five projects supported by Donegal County Council Public Art, which will take place in the county's five electoral areas to promote science and explore the effects of climate change.

"Most climate change research takes place at an international level. What we are doing is examining local knowledge from generations of fishermen and farmers, looking at ongoing scientific studies and seeing how art can deal with that," said Mr Cunningham.

In another project entitled 'Sofday', artists Sean Taylor and Mikael Fernstrom will examine marine 'dead zones' in Donegal Bay and Killybegs Harbour and collaborate with traditional musicians to tell the story.

Meanwhile, well-known astronomer David Moore confirmed the existence of Lisdoonvarna and Connemara in space.

Lisdoonvarna is on a minor planet orbiting the Sun called Gaspra, while Connemara is on Europa, the second biggest moon of Jupiter.

Irish Independent

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