Sculpture in the Parklands began as an international sculpture symposium in 2002 when seven Irish and international artists created works of art over a three-week period.The project was the brainchild of sculptor/curator Kevin O'Dwyer who worked in collaboration with Bord na Mona and the Lough Boora Parklands Group to direct and project manage the initial sculpture symposium. Eight site specific sculptures were created during the symposium and they form the nucleus of the sculpture park. The intervention of the symposium artists added another layer of engagement for visitors to the area, by combining visual and conceptual interpretations of the geography, landscape, industrial history of peat harvesting and the people who lived and worked in Boora, County, Offaly.
The success of the international sculpture symposium led to the formation of Sculpture in the Parklands, a 50 acre sculpture park. Artistic Director and curator Kevin O'Dwyer continued to invite artists to create significant site-specific works of art during the artist-in-residency programme each year until 2010. Over 25 works of art including sculpture, video, dance and music composition were commissioned during this period.