Creature sculpture to adorn gardens
A 14ft-high sea creature sculpture from Celtic mythology is to adorn on Northern Ireland's most famous gardens.
It is the latest addition to Mount Stewart's yew topiary. Planted at its base is an Irish yew tree taken as a cutting from the original ancient tree in Florence Court in Co Fermanagh.
The tree will take years to grow over the new structure, bringing it to life in the centre of the garden.
The creature, known as a Fomorian, was created by local artist Terry Dorrian. Fomorians were mythological half human, half sea monster creatures associated with the waters of the Celtic fringe including Strangford Lough.
Paul Stewart, Mount Stewart garden and park manager, said: "This new installation replaces a giant anteater topiary piece which died a few years ago.
"As the yew tree grows it will be meticulously trained around the framework of the Fomorian sculpture and clipped to shape, standing guard over the Shamrock Garden for many years to come."
The painstakingly clipped figures that surmount the hedge around the Shamrock Garden tell the story of the Stewart family's arrival in Ulster from Scotland to hunt for a stag.
The pieces are rich in allegory, with creatures from Celtic myth and historical symbols from the region all represented, including well-known pieces such as the topiary Irish Harp and the Red Hand of Ulster planted out annually in scarlet bedding.