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Coleraine's Peace Fountain - a Present from America

On July Fourth 2002 a very special present was unveiled in a park in Coleraine, County Londonderry.
Article by Brian Willis.

The Phoenix Peace Fountain in Anderson Park Coleraine

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Coleraine's Peace Fountain - a Present from America

On July Fourth 2002 a very special present was unveiled in a park in Coleraine, County Londonderry. It is a peace fountain and is a gift from "the communities of the United States to the communities of Northern Ireland". It is designed to celebrate "Northern Ireland rising from the ashes of past violence".

The Phoenix Peace Fountain in Anderson Park Coleraine
The Phoenix Peace Fountain in Anderson Park Coleraine

The fountain is surrounded by sculptured shapes in the form of Giant's Causeway stones. Each stone represents one of the 26 district councils in the province. Above these sits the phoenix bird arising from the flames.

Schools, churches, mineral and engineering companies across America donated materials for this sculpture, including one Connecticut firm which donated over $20,000 worth of stainless steel.

Groups and individuals from many American States including Florida, Georgia, Arizona, New York, Washington DC, and Massachusetts raised over $350,000 for the construction of the fountain.

As well as cash, many firms also donated their time, materials and expertise to build the sculpture. Click to see complete list of contributors

But the most inspiring material within this piece are the melted down thousands of guns which were collected from across America between March 2001 and February 2002. Some of the outlines of these firearms are still to be seen within the "Nest" of the bird and also at the base of the pool.

The Ashtabula County Sheriff's Department was the first to offer firearms to the project and over 400 "court ordered" guns, which had been used for criminal activity, were melted down. The Department then sent out letters to other Ohio law enforcement agencies and Akron Police Department responded with hundreds more guns and further co-ordinated the state-wide media coverage. Other law enforcement agencies followed suit and eventually thousands of firearms, which had been used in suicides, homicides and other criminal activity, arrived from as far away as Columbus and Cincinnati.

Speaking about the fountain, Senator George Mitchell said "All across America people are rooting for Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland holds a warm spot in the hearts of Americans. People want to do something to express their care and concern and their hopes for their fellow citizens in Northern Ireland".

Have you visited the peace fountain in Coleraine? What were your impressions? Is there a piece of sculpture in your area that you'd like to tell us about? Send us your comments by filling in the form below.



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