An investigation is under way into the theft of a life-size bronze statue in Co Sligo.

The sculpture is part of a larger piece depicting a man contemplating the words of the WB Yeats poem 'He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven'.

Created by sculptor Jackie McKenna, it was installed in the car park beside Drumcliffe Church and Cemetery where the poet is buried.

It is understood the statue was stolen sometime between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

The local Drumcliffe Development Association has appealed to anyone who noticed anything out of the ordinary in the area during that time to contact gardaí.

Chairperson Jarlath Gantley said he fears the statue may be destined for the scrap metal market.

Mr Gantley said that the sculpture is of great significance to the local community, who raised funds to install it next to what is one of the county's primary tourist attractions. 

Local Councillor Marie Casserly said it was shocking that people would steal this beautiful piece of art from a public car park.

She said: "Drumcliffe Development Association had fundraised for this project and worked closely with Sligo County Council and Drumcliffe Church."

Cllr Casserly said somebody will hopefully see something or drivers in the area over the weekend might pick up something from their dash cams.

Gardaí have also appealed to anyone with information to contact Sligo Garda Station on 071 9157000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111.