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Mayo Arts Service

Public Art Commission: N5 Westport to Turlough Road Project

A Mayo County Council Public Art Commission lead by artist James Winnett.

Mayo County Council is delighted to announce James Winnett as the successful artist for the Public Art Commission: N5 Westport to Turlough Road Project. James Winnett’s project The Touchstones will consist of a series of intricately carved stones located in Islandeady, Breaffy and Turlough – Parke.

Each community will have its own distinctive artwork(s) incorporating imagery, narrative carving and text that will reflect the distinct character and qualities of the area where they are sited. The stones will be carved by hand using traditional techniques. The final location of the artworks will be decided in consultation with each community.

James Winnett is an artist, stone carver and workshop leader interested in the crossovers between sculpture, archaeology, folklore, place and memory. He holds a Masters of Fine Art from the Glasgow School of Art. He has worked in public art for 15 years, having produced and installed approximately fifty large stone public artworks in public spaces in the UK and Ireland. Recently he completed a public art project in Kerdiffstown Park Co. Kildare. As part of this project he has been researching and developing work within an Irish context with a focus on landscape, archaeology, folklore and storytelling. James Winnett is looking forward to working on the project;

“Over the coming months I'll be exploring the distinct identities of each area, gathering stories and deepening my understanding of the way that people have related to these landscapes over time. I've always been interested in the way that stories and memory reside in a place and in thinking about how a series of artworks might promote moments of curiosity and connection. It's a great project to be a part of and I'm excited to see how it develops.”

As part of the project James will undertake research in each area; getting to the know the people and stories that have shaped it’s past and present. Through community engagement he will identify key themes, interests and ideas in each area that will inform the content and design of the final artworks.

Meet the Artist Events May 2023 

James Winnett meet with the communities of Islandeady, Turlough - Parke & Breaffy during the second week in May. James gave a presentation on his arts practice, process and research so far. Followed by soapstone carving demo and opportunity for community members to carve a soapstone with the option of making it into a pendant. Artist and participants talked about their area, potential locations for artworks while carving. These events were the first of a number of artist engagements that will take place in 2023.

Community Engagement July 2023

The artist will be running a second week of workshop in July. 

Schedule for July:

Islandeady: Tues 4th July 2023, 4.30 – 6.30pm, Islandeady Community Centre.

Turlough and Parke: Wed 5th July 2023, 6 - 8pm, Turlough Community Centre.

Breaffy: Thurs 6th July 2023, 5 - 7pm, Breaffy National School.

No need to book, just come along! 

This project is part of Mayo County Council’s Public Art Programme, funded under the Per Cent for Art Scheme by Transport Infrastructure Ireland as part of the N5 Westport to Turlough Road Project and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

For more information contact:

Aoife O’Toole, Acting Public Art Coordinator, Arts Service, Mayo County Council.

Email:, Phone: 094 9064376.

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