May 17, 2024

Known as The Lady on the Lagan, the sculpture on Belfast’s arterial waterway was officially christened The Ring of Thanksgiving by Scottish artist Andy Scott. As boring as that sounds there is a logic to the overly earnest title: the 50-foot symbol is the anchor of Thanksgiving Square – the brainchild of Belfast woman Myrtle Smyth, who was inspired following a visit to the non-denominational Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas, Texas – a project with the express aim of creating a public space for the local community to come together and give thanks no matter their religion, color, or faith. For a city rent by years of civil strife this was no idle wish when the square was inaugurated in 2005. A static piece of steel, the artwork nevertheless radiates a powerful energy and sense of urgency; thrusting upwards, as if striving for something larger than itself. Coincidentally The Ring is a visual reminder of how the Olympics take flight tonight in London; moreover, the Games’ motto could just as easily be a watch cry for Belfast these days: Faster, Higher, Stronger.

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