Hold-Fast, Hang-Ten, S.L.I.G.O.

Artist Name(s) Stephen Hurrel
Artwork title Hold-Fast, Hang-Ten, S.L.I.G.O.
Context/Background The context for this commission was to mark the opening of a major new drainage and waste treatment plant for the city. A location close to the harbour was sought and secured on a recently regenerated amenity area, formerly a municipal swimming pool. 

Each of the five wood and steel constructions is based on designs of nautical signal flags. Each signal flag represents a message as well as a letter of the alphabet.  The 'hidden message' in the five pieces spells out S.L.I.G.O.

Four large pieces of Kilkenny Limestone each have a single word carved into their top surface, HOLD FAST and HANG TEN. The idea of having the text on the top surface is so that so that each letter may, at times, fill up with rain water. This also makes reference to the water that used to exist on this former swimming pool site.

The text 'HOLD FAST' refers to tattoos that Riggers who once worked in the port used to have on their hands to help them pull in the ropes.

The text 'HANG TEN' refers to a surfing term, ten toes hanging over front of the surf-board. This reference recognises the many forms of exchange between Ireland and America. Surfing has become a popular 'imported' sport. However Ireland is well connected to the history of surfing also as it was George Freeth, son of an Irish family who immigrated to Hawaii, who learned how to surf from the locals and then introduced it to California... it then travelled back to Ireland.

Additionally the artist has also designed ripples in the grass - in the area where the swimming pool used to occupy. The ripples emanate from the point where people would dive from the diving board.


The artist made a public presentation of the proposal. 

Suggestions by members of the community were incorporated by the artist. 

Three newspaper articles were written about the works. 


Stephen Hurrel, is based in Glasgow and has produced public artworks in the UK and Australia. He was awarded an Arts Foundation Fellowship in 2008 and Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Award.  

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Sligo County Council
Project commission dates February 1, 2009 - June 1, 2009
Public Presentation dates June 1, 2009 - January 1, 1970
Artform Visual Arts
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 70000 - 150000 euro
Project commission start date 01/02/2009
Project commission end date 01/06/2009
Location Salmon Point, N15 Sligo
County Sligo
Street Address Salmon Point, adj. Hughes Bridge
Content contributor(s) Mary McDonagh
Relationship to project Public Art Officer Sligo County Council
Public engagement

Residents of the North Ward and Cartron area

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Seamus Dunbar, artist, Executive Engineers, Sligo County Council, Parks Officer, Sligo Borough Council, Public Art Officer, Sligo County Council



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Nazareth Housing Association provides independent living houses for individuals and couples who are 65 and over and on the Sligo County Council housing list.  Nazareth Village is comprised of 48 houses in a garden setting.  The Village was financed as a public-private partnership between Nazareth Housing Association and Sligo County Council with funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.  

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