The Castlebar Mall Fountain

Artist: Peter Grant

This fountain is a Peter Grant sculpture based on a smaller piece of sculptor representing Manannan, the mythical Irish figure, collected by the late Ernie O'Malley on his travels around the world. This bronze piece now adorns the Mall as a focal point just opposite Daly's hotel and the Courthouse. Lit up at night time it provides a nice, quiet, contemplative location to sit and watch the world go by and perhaps think about the stories about Manannan which date from the 8th to 12th Century.

It is often easy to forget about the rich history of where you live. It is a great thing to take time out from all that and sit in such an idyllic spot and think about the past but also to think of the impact it has had on your future.

Manannan Mac Lir - (The Other World Lord or Mythical Mariner) is famed in County Mayo as a magician in late folklore. He lived in the Castle of Mannin in the Parish of Bekan which is about half an hour from Castlebar. The term Mac Lir means son of the sea rather than son of Lir as in the Children of Lir. His horse, which features prominently in the sculpture on the Mall, was known as Enbhar (which means water foam) and indeed Manannan is described as "a rider of the maned sea". His link with water is also apparent in that two of his daughters Glina and Monoge gave their names to two lakes in County Mayo.

Manannan is also known as Oribsiu which is believed to be the word from which Lough Corrib is derived. When he died he was buried in Connaught and a new lake is reputed to have burst open over his grave. It is intriguing to speculate that this lake was in fact Mannin Lake which, ironically, was drained away in the 1960s as part of the Moy drainage scheme. Is his grave to be found in the swampland which now marks the old Mannin Lake? Continuing the watery theme: the Castlebar River used to run across the Mall before being diverted to its present course and it makes the present location of the fountain quite a fitting one for Manannan and his watery horse.