To survey the beautiful landscape from the summit of the Hill of Tara, revel in the tranquil atmosphere of Glendalough or walk the pebbled paths of Powerscourt’s elegant gardens, you have to fly to Dublin, Ireland. But to see an ingenious tribute to the Irish countryside, all you need to do is drive to Ballantrae in Dublin, Ohio.
Ballantrae is a residential planned community with over 1,000 home sites, an 18-hole resort-style golf course and a 640-acre pastoral landscape of fields, lakes, hills, hand-stacked rubble stone walls and ruins. Ballantrae Community Park is one of its many public and neighborhood greenspaces.
Dancing Hares, Sophie Ryder’s 14-foot-tall bronze sculpture, tops a hill overlooking a lawn dotted by boulders. The sculpture recalls how mad March hares stand on their hind legs and box each other during their breeding season.
The English artist is known for embedding everyday household objects in her work. Look closely and you’ll find things like toy bears, decorative hair combs, Schweppes bottle openers, and Irish coins with their iconic image of Brian Boru’s harp nestled in the rabbits’ feet.
A 125-foot-long curved concrete stone grotto wall built into the hillside below provides the backdrop for a whimsical interactive water feature that’s popular with children. Fountains shoot from the ground of the plaza. Jet sprays change pattern and heights. A cascading waterfall is perfect for cooling off on a hot day.
Students from the Columbus College of Art and Design developed, sketched and created sculptures of six different leprechaun faces that are embedded in the grotto wall. Water spews from holes in the leprechauns’ mouths.
The spray fountains at Ballantrae Community Park — located at 6350 Woerner Temple Road — are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. through September 1, 2014.