The Hiring Fair
by Maurice Harron
Since Famine times hiring fairs were a feature of the Northern Counties of Ireland. Wealthy farmers and landowners from The Lagan Valley would come and hire poor children as manual labourers and servants. This twice-yearly practice continued for almost a century. The novel Rotha mor an tSaol by Mici Mac Gabhann from Cloughaneely, Co. Donegal includes a beautiful but sad account of Mici walking through the night to the hiring fair in Letterkenny which was part of the artist’s inspiration for this piece.
In conversation during the selection of this piece, it was suggested that although these were hard sad times for the children, there was also some fun too – hence the small little frog in the boys hand.
The Hiring Fair, 1994
Commissioned through a open competition. The Hiring Fair sculptures are life size, made from bronze and is located in the Market Square, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Born in Derry in 1946, Maurice Harron has produced major public artworks in Cities and towns throughout Ireland, UK and America. The works are all site-specific, inspired by the cultural, environmental or heritage of the locations.