WATERFORD’S record breaking Viking sword has been installed at its new home in the Viking Triangle.
The installation of the world’s longest wooden sword sculpture, which was created by John Hayes and James Doyle from Special Branch Carvings, took place last Saturday morning.
The sword is 23 metres long and was over a year in the planning.
It is now located in the heart of the Viking Triangle at Bailey’s New Street.
Earlier this year, John Hayes, who is well known thanks to the success of many different projects including the ‘Angel of Fenor’, set about trying to create a new world record for the longest carving from a single piece of timber.
The Douglas Fir tree from which the sword was created was sourced from Ballinamona Estate in Waterford.
After carrying out significant work on site in Ballinamona, the sword was then transported to the National Ploughing Championships’ grounds at Screggan in County Offaly where it was on display at the Oleo-Mac stand during the three day event as John put the finishing touches to his masterpiece.
His impressive creation was declared to be a new world record on the final day of the Championships.
The sword, which weighs 14 tonnes, tells the story of the Vikings arriving in Ireland and Waterford and features intricate details along with the names ‘Port Láirge’ and ‘Vadrafjord’.
John says he has been “blown away” by the response to his creation.
“I’ve been genuinely taken aback by people’s reactions,” he said.
“You get so caught up in the small details that you forget about the overall impact which the sword makes.”
John, a proud Déise man, is keen to promote Waterford at every opportunity.
“Breaking a record was great but being able to do something for Waterford is a big thing for me. I’m proud of where I come from, but we have to be confident in what we do and believe in ourselves,” he said.
John says many people who stopped to admire the sword at the National Ploughing Championships said they would “definitely” be coming to Waterford to see the creation in its new home.
He hopes that his work can inspire others to pursue their dream projects.
“I hope some young man or woman out there looks at this and sees that you can actually try something and give it your best shot,” he said.
John has had an incredibly busy year having recently competed at the English Open Chainsaw Carving Competition where he placed fourth.
The new sword will form an important part of an exciting new Viking festival for Waterford – the details of which were revealed at the Ploughing Championships by the Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland Else Berit Eikeland.
The festival is set to take place at Easter and will celebrate Waterford’s Viking heritage.
Photos by Noel Browne