Galway’s Symbol of Solidarity with Our Healthcare Workers All across Ireland today, Fairgrounds and circuses lie quiet and closed. Saint Patrick’s Day, usually a busy date in the show-business calendar, is a lost memory, and the Easter break, the traditional lift-off of the tourist season, is cancelled.
In common with all non-essential businesses, our fairground gates are locked. At Curry’s Funpark, beside Leisureland in Salthill, preparation for the season has stopped. The Big Wheel, overlooking the Salthill Promenade, the iconic emblem of the fairground, is a silent giant. It was this lonely sight, just two weeks ago that sparked an idea in the mind of Owen Curry, owner of the Park.
In common with people across the country, Owen wanted to express his gratitude for the incredible work of Ireland’s healthcare workers.
He realised that standing 120 feet high, his Big Wheel was the platform to make a statement, and so the idea for “The Heart of Hope – An Croi Gorm” was born. “I wanted to do something, to say to the doctors, nurses, first responders, lab-technicians and everybody working in the Health Service, how grateful we are for their incredible dedication and courage in the current crisis”
At home in his workshop, Owen got busy. In the following days he began the design, and quickly moved to the fabrication of the 3 metre-high Heart. Made of steel, and with over 200 blue LED lamps framing the outline of the 9 sq.metre structure, Owen finished the work in under a week.
“Once I had come up with the design, I worked night and day to make the Heart, get it painted, and fix the lights”. Together with his crew, and respecting the rules of social distancing, Owen had the Heart in place at the axle of the Wheel within a day. “I chose blue for the particular effect it has, especially at twilight, but also at night” said Owen.
Within minutes of illuminating the Heart, cars began to stop to look at the new image. Photographs on social media are generating a very positive reaction. “When the other lights on the Big Wheel are switched off, the Heart emits a glow and appears to float in mid-air over the Salthill Prom. It’s a magical effect” said Owen. “As a member of the executive of the ‘Irish Showman’s Guild’ , and as a member of the ‘Village Salthill’ , I know how much people in our communities support our health care workers.”
“This Heart represents every Irish Showman. It also represents Salthill’s commitment to safety for the locals and visitors who use the famous Salthill Promenade ever day for exercise and fun. But I think people in the wider community will also take it to their own hearts, not just here in Galway but right across Ireland. We want to encourage people to use the #HeartofHope hashtag to remind people to stay safe, stay home, and support your local health and frontline workers”.