site of the explosion is marked by a pillar, made of 6 tonnes of ultra-clear
'laboratory' glass, 4.5m high.
Near the top, inside appears a 3-dimensional 'heart' in a faceted cut-glass
The suggested image is that of the heart suspended high in a frozen
beam of light, representing love.
approach to the artwork was that it could remember and honour the the
victims and offer something to the wider community by attempting to
simply, uninhibitedly and vividly express the enormity of the loss and
the natural feeling, and the outpouring of compassion for them.
idea is a gesture towards redeeming human values
in the face of the atrocity.
Omagh actually receives the least amount of sunshine
in Ireland. Because of its position, the
bomb site is more often than not in the shade.
In the Memorial Garden, about 300 yds. around the corner, large mirrors
positioned by computer control track the sun constantly, and when it
shines pour beams of sunlight via nearby arrays, onto 31 pole-mounted
small mirrors, one for each life lost.
These are directed to send the light down the street where another array
of mirrors bends it around the corner, and via one small mirror mounted
on the nearby gable into the heart inside the obelisk.
There is an 'ideal' viewing point on the opposite pavement, where the
viewer can look through the pillar and back up the beam of sunlight;
as seen in the photo.
'pillar', the final form of which was designed, as well as other elements,
by landscape architect Desmond
Fitzgerald who is also responsible for the Memorial Garden, is influenced
both by obelisks and cenotaphs.
the larger scale, the work also draws attention to our place in and
under the cycles of the cosmos and also to the optimistic-but-true reminder
that even in the dark we know that the Sun will rise again.
It has been constructed by a complex process including laminating, i.e.
attaching consecutive slabs of glass together under extreme pressure
New techniques were devised by Carey Glass Ltd. to laminate the huge
pieces of glass.
This 'stack' of glass was assembled on site and wrapped, on its sides
and top with a thick layer of toughened glass to form a protective outer
shell to the obelisk.
In some of the inner
layers are cut holes with polished edges, designed so they build in
layers to form an oval cavity. In the middle three of them the heart
shape is mounted, in a complex framework made of a number of different
glasses, some of which Tyrone Crystal have hand-cut with a complex pattern.
(see illustration) It is incorporated into the pillar using modern technology.
The whole structure is completely transparent and is an unprecedented
application of glass technology.
The 'heart' is the
ancient and universal verbal and visual symbol of the 'core' or essential
element of things, including the Human Being, of compassion, and of
In between the halves
of of the faceted heart, (which is based on the cutting of diamonds),
is a layer cut with a pattern based on the fibbonaci spiral, as seen
in the centre of sunflowers, for instance, in spiral galaxies and elsewhere
This pattern has
an ancient history of being used to represent the descent of the Divine
to the World, and the reverse journey.
Though apparently complex, the moving-mirror technology is already existing.
Sun-tracking mirrors are known as known as 'heliostats', and for this
applicartion a new extremely accurate system was developed by German
experts, Egis GmbH.
Developed from high-end positioners for satellite dishes, they are driven
by a small box of electronics programmed to track the sun daily for
the next forty years. They operate very quietly for a fraction of a
second every 20 seconds to keep in position.
They are very sturdy and reliable and have been in use for years already
at many sites.
Since the sunlight is merely reflected by flat mirrors rather than concentrated,
there is no risk or health and safety issue.
from 10th Anniversary and unveiling of Memorial:
by Getty photographer PeterMacDiarmid short
BBC TV news report longer
BBC TV news report
RTÉ TV news report RTÉ
TV 'Nationwide' report
article by Fintan O'Toole
by Eimear McKeith BBC
"Omagh memorial obelisk put up"
Art Journal article on the competition and this entry The
original press release announcing the competition
pimlicoarts on the design
writes it "moves memorials onto a new level"
The recent spell of good weather allowed work to upgrade and adjust
the mirror system. A new mirror nearby now allows the viewer to see
the sunlight directly through the pillar and heart, producing a very
The mirror system is operating, after long delays due to the weather.
Further adjustment and improvement will take place in the coming weeks.
The monument has been unveiled.
pillar has been installed.
A one-fifth scale model of the pillar has been built. (see photos below,
has commenced on the site.
competition and Design Brief:
article explaining the design competition
Download the design brief PDF (c. 900k) here
our full stage 1 proposal document as a pdf here.
Further Information: Web-links related to the Omagh Bomb:
map of the immediate area
article on Omagh Town
article on the Omagh Bomb
'official' exhaustive archive of the event
The BBC's page with many links and items, including the playable 'Panorama-
"Who bombed Omagh?"'
BBC's news item on the day
most prominent independent web-page with many pages and statements from
CAIN (academic) archive on the event
in the project:
Glass Ltd.- glass supply
Carey Glass Ltd.
- building the pillar
McGrory Contractors- site contractors
Design Associates - expertise
GmbH - heliostats
Ltd. - crystal glass
- glass model
Young Green - engineering
Systems Ireland and
Craft - sealants
- Electrical contractors
Thanks for help and advice:
IPIG Ltd. - glass engineers
Tisljar - glass sculptor
Resins Ltd. - acrylic resin
Resin & Glass Ltd. - acrylic resin
Dr. Peter Gallagher - Astrophysicist,
Trinity College Dublin
Glass Centre - glass for model