posted on July 3rd, 2019

Discover Artificial Sunshine at The Argory


Evvie Bishop, 11 yrs.

This summer, conservation charity The National Trust invites everyone to discover people’s stories, histories and lives that light up The Argory, County Armagh.

There’s something new for everyone to experience at The Argory. From the vibrant neon art installation ‘Artificial Sunshine’,  in the west Hall of the house, to a brand new child friendly outdoor trail called ‘Follow The Flow Water Trail’.

Artificial Sunshine’ by Northern Irish artist Kevin Killen was revealed to the public in April 2018.  It took the place of the West Hall chandelier which was removed as part of a major conservation project to clean all the acetylene light fittings in the house.  To create the bespoke artwork Kevin drew inspiration from The Argory; the spiral shapes found in the house décor, Mr Bond’s (the last owner of The Argory) passion for collecting contemporary  art, the glow of the acetylene gas flame (neon was used as it creates a similar light and cast to acetylene gas light) and the pulsing of the light reflective of the artist’s breathing.  With the chandelier due to return in November, The Argory has made the exciting decision to keep Artifical Sunshine. It will be reimagined in a new location within the house.

There is as much to discover outside as there is inside at The Argory.  This summer children will enjoy a new outdoor trail called ‘Follow The Flow Water Trail’. The trail not only reveals the technologies used on the estate down through the centuries but the essential use of water. Children will enjoy discovering how a donkey helped to operate the pump that  piped water from the river into the house. They’ll learn how the bowstring design of Bond’s bridge built in 1890 and named after the family who owned The Argory, provided easy access to the estate – plus much more!

Looking forward to welcoming visitors to The Argory over the summer Christina Taylor, House and Collections Manager for Mid Ulster, said: “We welcome everyone to join us this summer to discover the stories of the people that help to light up The Argory. Whether it’s taking a tour of the house to hear about its history, our conservation project, see ‘Artificial Sunshine’ or to walk around our new ‘Follow The Flow Water Trail,’ there is guaranteed to be something to inspire and excite all our visitors.”

Local artist Kevin Killen added: “Working with the National Trust on the development and installation of ‘Artificial Sunshine’  has been a wonderful experience. The Argory is a truly inspiring place which enabled me to deliver an entirely modern take on a celebrated form of lighting.  I would encourage everyone to visit this very special place and hope that my part in The Argory’s story helps to inspire and light up people’s lives.”

The Argory is open daily throughout July and August, 11am-5pm.  Standard admission prices: Adult £6.36, Child £3.18 and Family £15.90. Members Free. For more information please call 028 8778 4753, find us on Facebook – NationalTrustMidUlster or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-argory