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Arklow artist James Burke crafts ‘Throne of Queen Maebh’ from ancient Wicklow roots

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Cllr Peir Leonard sits on Queen Maebh's throne at the Arklow Maritime Museum.

Cllr Peir Leonard sits on Queen Maebh's throne at the Arklow Maritime Museum.

Cllr Peir Leonard sits on Queen Maebh's throne at the Arklow Maritime Museum.

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A wooden throne crafted from ancient Wicklow roots that were used to build Viking boats in Norway is part of a new exhibition by artist James Burke at the Arklow Maritime Museum.

VESSELS’ is an exhibition showing the work of James Burke, Adam Burke and Sean Redmond. The exhibition comprises paintings, sculptures and collages.

One of the sculptures, ‘The Throne of Queen Meabh’, has a particularly intriguing tale to tell.

It’s creator, James, explained: “I discovered that seven Viking boat burials were unearthed in Norway, and when timbers used to build these boats were tested it was revealed that the timber came from Glendalough.

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"But 20 years ago I had found this old oak root sticking out of a river bank in Glendalough, so I brought it back to Arklow. Two days later a friend told me of an interesting piece of wood on the beach and when I got there it was another root.”

James believes this root had been planted 100 years ago in an old metal barrel in the grounds of the old Kynoch factory in Arklow. The roots of the tree grew to mirror the shape of the barrel.

"Now I had two roots, one from the mountains and one from the coast,” said James. “So I combined them. I rooted the power of the mountain to the power of the sea. I created a seat of power and the only one rooted in such power is Queen Meabh.”


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