Covid-19 memorial sculpture unveiled at Tallaght University HospitalGary Ibbotson 04 Aug 2021
Earlier today in a dedicated space outside the TUH Chapel, a small group gathered for the unveiling of a permanent memorial honouring those that died during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sculpture, created by artist Mark Ryan and sponsored by the Adelaide Health Foundation will be known as the ‘Heart Memorial’.
The piece, according to Ryan, is based on identical hearts, an initiative by the Pastoral Care team throughout the pandemic.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and continuously since then, Healthcare Chaplains in TUH incorporated into their end-of-life care the practice of placing a handcrafted heart in the hand of a dying or deceased patient while an identical heart is given to the next of kin/family member (when present) or if not forwarded to them by post.
These identical hearts are handcrafted by hospital staff and also sent in by members of the public.
The message to the bereaved families reads: “Your loved one was not alone, we cared for them, we stayed with them “life has to end, love doesn’t – a pair of identical hearts, one is with them and this heart is for you made with love.”
Commenting on the unveiling, John Kelly, Director of Pastoral Care at TUH said: “The image of the identical hearts incorporated into a permanent memorial commemorates this tragic time of COVID-19.
“The memorial has a reference to Celtic standing stones.
“The split in the piece vertically relates to the identical hearts with the bronze heart in the centre connecting the piece.
“Standing here it conveys a forceful message to remind us of those who died and the sacrifices it commemorates.
“It serves as an everlasting tribute to beautiful lives well lived and worth remembering.
“The heart of those we remember returning to the loving heart of the source of their being and a reminder of the love they shared in the world.
“It stands here least we forget.
“As a place of remembrance, a place to honour, to respect and a place of healing.”
Niamh Gavin, Chief Executive of the Adelaide Health Foundation said: “We were delighted to support this tribute.
“Memorialisation is an essential part of the grieving process and it is a wonderful way to cherish the fond memories of those who have died.”
“This dedicated space will honour the patients who died in the care of the Hospital.”
Mark Ryan is a sculptor who works with a variety of materials such wood, clay, plaster, steel, stainless steel and bronze.
The scale of his work varies from small scale intimate works to very large scale sculptures in public spaces.
His work is included in many national and international collections.
Ryan has received the Braun prize at Carlow Eigse and the Halward Sculpture prize.
His work is selected regularly for the RHA annual show and Sculpture in Context, the Botanic Gardens Dublin and by various galleries throughout Ireland.