Tulach a' tSolais Mound of Light 1798
On Oulart Hill in Co. Wexford the scene of the 1798 rebellion Tulach a tsolais (mound of light) – the national memorial to 1798. - Facing East
The design is loosely based on Newgrange in Co. Meath. The Tulach or mounds over graves was regarded in ancient Ireland as a place which would connect two worlds, the worlds of the living and of the dead - at Bealtaine (Mayday) and Samhain (Halloween).
The Tulach is used to represent two political worlds which are forever separated from each other by powerful changes in social and political values. The old mediaeval world of kings and subjects and the modern world of citizens and republics.
To represent the separation of these two worlds, a passage runs though it splitting it in two and open to the sky allowing in the light in a powerful metaphor for the profound changes wrought by the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment - elevating the subject to citizen.
The victory at Oulart Hill led to the establishment of the Wexford Republic in 1798, the defeat at Vinegar Hill three weeks later marked the collapse of the short lived republic. The two hills, representing the rise and fall of the republic are commemorated by the passage.
The passage leads to a central chamber which like Newgrange, at the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes the rising and falling sun falls along the length of the passage.
In the central chamber there are two massive oak sculptures (think cushions on the floor) These large sculptures turn upward as if reaching toward the light. These oaks were saplings in 1798 and that's why they were selected for this sculpture.