Creative spark ignites for Bonfire night
PAUL Graham's face may not be instantly recognisable but anyone who's been to a Killarney Bonfire Night will recognise his fantastic firedrum creations.
The man behind the Dragaroo, the Phoenix, the dinosaur, Ned Kelly, the sausage dog and many others said the annual event, which will be held at the Killarney Rec Club on July 22 from 4pm, was the perfect outlet for his creative spark.
Mr Graham said he did not enter the inaugural bonfire night seven years ago.
"I didn't know much about it, I was a bit green" he said.
"But then I went along and saw what it was all about and thought, 'wow, this is me'."
Every year since Mr Graham has put his self- learned metal working skills to use and the finished products are definite crowd-pleasers.
"I've always been good with my hands," he said.
"Some of these things take six hours to put together, some take 16.
"Next year's might take 60.
"If it's a cold night, or a wet day, I'll head off into the shed and do a bit of work and see what I can come up with.
"It started out as a bit of fun, and still is a lot of fun."
Now with six years worth of gigantic steel creations, Mr Graham loads up a couple of trucks and takes them all down for each event.
"A couple of us take all the ones we have down there," he said.
"Thousands of people come along and they want to see the massive bonfire and they want to see as many firedrums as they can."
Mr Graham used resources such as salvaged metal, scrap, old gas cylinders and corrugated iron in his creations.
"When the Killarney abattoir closed down, I went down there and bought a heap of old pipes and steel, knowing that I'd use it all down the track," he said.
"Most of my ideas start off small and then snowball.
"I just let my imagination run away with it."
This year Mr Graham has a couple of special surprises up his sleeve.
"I've done one I call the Mumma Roo," he said.
"And the other....well, he's huge and pretty impressive but I'm not quite sure what to call him yet.
"But you won't want to miss him."
Mr Graham said the artists who contributed to the Killarney Bonfire Night were a team.
"The kid who turns up with a simple drum is as important as anything I've done," he said.
"It's like a marathon, it doesn't matter how fast you run, just as long as you finish,
"We're a team working together to thrill the crowds and raise money for a fantastic local cause.
"And it's also a big night and very beneficial for Killarney as a community."
Mr Graham's Killarney property is a exhibit in itself, with past creations taking pride of place along the road into the property.
"It's hard work," he said.
"These things take a lot of time and sweat but it's all worth it when you see a family getting great enjoyment out of your fire-breathing dragon.
"I'd encourage everyone to get in and have a go in future years, especially more kids. We all have to start somewhere."