Eyre Square: Follow the yellow finger

Despite being one of Ireland's wettest locations, with 122% more cloud cover and rain than the national average in 2019, Galway is one of the country’s most vibrant and colourful destinations, hosting numerous festivals and cultural events every year. To celebrate this joyful outlook I would like to propose a new sculpture to be built in the city’s centre, Eyre Square, entitled Above The Clouds, The Sun Is Always Shining.

It’s Up There: A moving sculpture that always points to the sun

Taking its name from a slightly cheesy but nonetheless factually accurate inspirational quote: “Above The Clouds The Sun Is Always Shining“, the sculpture will feature an oversize robotic hand that, even on the most overcast of days, points to the sun’s live position high above the clouds. Like a magical moving statue, of which Ireland has a history, the sunshine-yellow hand will be built using a modified robotic arm (see below), set to continuously track the star’s positional data as the day progresses.

A robotic arm, used but in good condition, currently available for £15,000 on eBay.
Left: An M2004 robotic arm, used but in good condition, currently available for £15,000 on eBay. Right: TheSkyLive.com offers a live data feed of the sun’s position.

On dark, wet days, the sculpture will act as a not-so-subtle reminder that the sun is still up there, shining brilliantly above the clouds. Then on sunny days, when the sky is clear of clouds, the sculpture will simply point up becoming a temporary sundial. It could also use this time to charge up using built-in solar panels (I’ve thought everything through here).

Sunrise to sunset: Pointing out the sun’s position throughout the day

Sundial mode: activated on sunny days

If you work in Galway City council, have access to £15,000 (€16,523) and think Above The Clouds The Sun Is Always Shining could be an upbeat addition to the square, please do not hesitate in contacting me. For the purposes of these mock ups I have used the plinth that the Galway Hookers Monument currently sits upon. It would not be my intention to replace this. Just in case this works against my proposal. Thank you.

Some interesting things I learned during this project:
• Cloud amounts are measured in ‘okta’, which is the amount of eights of the sky covered.  
• Irish skies are completely covered by cloud for well over fifty percent of the time.
• Irish skies are least cloudy at night. On average minimum cloud cover is between 2100 and 0100 GMT while maximum cover is between 1000 and 1500 GMT. Bad for sun bathing but good for star gazing I guess.