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Dublin: 17°C Monday 26 July 2021

Giant sand sculptures return to Dublin Castle

Duthain Dealbh return to Dublin Castle as they construct this year’s “Black, White, and Grey” sand sculptures.

THIS JULY AND August, Dublin Castle welcomes back Duthain Dealbh, a multi-element sculpturing group, to Dublin Castle.

They return to once again build their very own sand sculptures – however, Daniel Doyle along with Alan Magee and Niall Magee, go a little beyond the average sand castle.

This year’s chosen theme is Black, White and Grey…

Giant sand sculptures return to Dublin Castle
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  • Front of Black and White Sculptures

    Einstein looking onto Dublin Castle. Source: Ali Watson/TheJournal.ie
  • Grey Sculpture

    "... grey is an area that you're not too sure of. I wanted to explore the idea that when you're breaking up with someone it's not a simple black and white situation. It's a very grey area and it's very complicated." (Sculpted and quoted by: Daniel Doyle)Source: Ali Watson /TheJournal.ie
  • Black Sculpture

    Fellow Duthain Dealbh member, Daniel Doyle, provided background for his colleagues work "(this is) Einstein and a tribute to him and his idea of black holes." (Sculpted by: Niall Magee) Source: Ali Watson/TheJournal.ie
  • White Sculpture

    Fellow Duthain Dealbh member, Daniel Doyle, provided background for his colleagues work. "Usually you get to work on a beach but instead we are working in the city centre. So he took elements of the architecture here by taking the white elements of the windows. When your mixing light you're creating a white light, so his is taken upon that concept." (Sculpted by: Alan Magee)Source: Ali Watson/TheJournal.ie
  • Landscape of Exhibition

    Onlookers observe Daniel Doyle adding final touches to his sculpture as well as seeing the finished products of Niall Magee and Alan Magee.Source: Ali Watson/TheJournal.ie
  • Back of the Black and White Sculptures

    Pictured is the back of Einstein where you can see a black hole. As well as the back of the White Sculpture and part of Dublin Castle.Source: Ali Watson/TheJournal.ie

The Construction

Doyle explained the process of carving the sculptures out of huge blocks of sand:

We start with a big wooden box (that surrounds the sand). Then we climb up on the top and work our way down. I try to remove as much of the wooden boxes as I can and I try to work all over the sculpture at the same time.
It’s all about balance. You’re with with light and shade; in certain areas I can see that it needs a bit of darkness and so I add a bit of texture in that area, and the same with lightness.

One might wonder if the sand sculptures would maintain their incredible detail with the indecisive Irish weather. Luckily, the sand that Duthain Dealbh uses is very durable, and can survive through all the elements.

“The sand is actually very compact so it allows the water to drain through. We’re really turning it into a sand stone. We do spray it over with a type of hairspray like glue that will keep it compact,” Doyle said.

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So, do the artists have to keep returning to the exhibition site to keep their pieces pristine? No, said Doyle: “The sculptures could last up to two to three years. A lot of people wonder ‘oh you must be devastated you’ve worked so hard.’ But I kind of like the idea that people can’t hang unto it. It’s just in the eye of the beholder.”

Looking Beyond What You See

“I do enjoy listening to the audience as they try to understand ‘what is this about?’ It opens up a dialogue about what do things mean, rather than what they are… We just want people to look rather than to see.”

Beautiful work, art that makes you think, cool engineering – and it’s all free. Definitely one to check out. The sculptures will remain at Dublin Castle up to 21 August.

Pictures: Sand sculpting trio’s giant monuments in Dublin Castle

Look: Rare 1970s photos turn up of the building of Disney’s Space Mountain

Read: The Lion King goes to the Gaeltacht

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