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Artist – Helle Helsner

Unsung Heroes

Clonakilty Day Care Centre

Unsung Heroes

‘It is often the little things which make a true hero or heroine.’ A group of twelve women designed and sculpted and  a series of hand crafted bronze personal medals inspired by the 1916 Centenary Celebrations and International Women’s Day. They worked with sculptor Helle Helsner to realise their designs. The medals were to be a celebration of the women’s lives rather than the 1916 Rising, having perhaps gone through life without being celebrated or recognised for the smaller but not less significant achievements in life. 

The group began by discovering each other’s achievements, recognising the value in both the simple ones in life the more celebrated and recognised landmarks in life, such as cooking for a large family every day of your life, raising children and grandchildren, being a great friend or a fabulous singer. The artist introduced wax as a medium to create a form to sculpt each others medals, and give structure to the awards.

The artist took the carefully crafted wax sculptures back to her studio to make forms and cast in bronze. Ribbons were attached to add formality to the presentation and great effort and humour was put into a ceremony where each person was awarded their medal of achievement.



Eight weeks from March to April 2016


Bernadette Edmead, Day Care Coordinator at Clonakilty Hospital, expressed the many ways in which the twelve older women who participated in the project flourished, ‘It was a really beneficial project, beginning with asking each other about their achievements and drawing their ideas. Not only was the project really fun, it was creative and therapeutic with such a great surprise at the end, when the artist planned a ceremony to award the women their medals of achievement.’