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Armagh City Angels And Gargoyles Trail

As you walk around the streets of Armagh City, you may have the eerie feeling that you are being watched…

It is not by the spirits of St Patrick, Brian Boru or the other local characters of the city but by twenty-two tiny sets of still, glinting eyes which will be silently following your every move.

The Angels and Gargoyles trail is Armagh’s smallest Public Art installation but it also spans the widest area. The trail features twenty-two miniature bronze sculptures hidden in all kinds of curious places amongst the city’s historic buildings, architecture and streets.

Gargoyles are shy creatures and it is by the very nature of their business that guardian angels are never seen. Hence you will only discover these creatures by accident or by exploring Armagh City with curious eyes.

No more than 16 inches high these gargoyles, angels and chimeras sport a stylish greenish camouflage. But are they friend or foe? Find them get up to all kinds of mischief, escaping, climbing and playing with things they’ve found on the street – or stolen from inside the buildings.

From nooks and crannies, behind windows and boot scrapers, fantastical, humorous and grotesque creatures are living their lives

The Armagh sculptures were designed by German born Sculptor Holger Christian Lonze. Holger used a particularly sustainable bronze casting technique that has been practiced nearly unchanged for more than 4,000 years in Ireland.

Appropriately Holger’s studio is located in West Cork, only 2 miles away from the oldest Bronze Age copper mine of Ireland on Mount Gabriel. This series of Armagh sculptures won the Civic Art Award in 2012.

Besides being messengers from God, angels were also warriors or guards, hence the term ‘guardian angel’.

Chimeras and gargoyles also fulfilled a similar function of warding off evil spirits from the sacral buildings to which they had been applied.

This unique project takes the images of the gargoyles and angels out of their original historical sacral context and moves them into their new contemporary and urban environment.

From history, they are the original messengers or you may call them Ambassadors and these little ones give us a modern-day link to Armagh’s rich and varied history

This trail is accessible for all – from the young to the young at heart and all those in between! It is a real hidden gem or bronze of our city and we love the excitement of children as they embark on an Indiana Jones style adventure to track down all the sculptures.

The trail is available from the Visitor Information Centre whenever the mood takes you to go on a journey of discovery in Armagh

Click for brochure download HERE