Home is where the Hearth is

Empty Hearth no.3,  watercolour on paper by Eoin Mac Lochlainn, 2014
Empty Hearth no.3, watercolour on paper, 2014

There aren’t that many “open-submission” art exhibitions in Ireland these days but there’s one in Dún Laoghaire and the theme this year was ‘Home’. It was selected by Mark St.John Ellis of the NAG gallery and I’m delighted to report that my 3 works were accepted for the show.

Open-submission shows are important for artists because this is where their work can get noticed by curators (who might not otherwise come across their work). Opportunities here are few and far between these days and apparently, over 250 artists applied for this one but there was only 37 selected… Mark St.John Ellis told us that he viewed all the works without checking the names. He is particularly interested in painting so he was surprised himself, when he realised that he had picked more photographs than paintings on this occasion – but he chose the works that best responded to the theme and he was very happy with the final selection of work. I must say that it looked very well in the Municipal Gallery in Dún Laoghaire.

photograph of dlr Lexicon in Dún Laoghaire by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Yes, the skyline of Dún Laoghaire looks very different these days, there’s a major new building on the sea front. It’s a brand new library called the dlr Lexicon, which includes the Municipal Gallery. While other boroughs are closing down and selling off their wonderful library buildings, Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown are sticking to their guns and opening a stunning new (some might call it) monstrosity.

Now, it is big alright but I wouldn’t call it a monstrosity. Towering, perhaps or monumental – but not a monstrosity. Actually the only fault I’d have with it is the red brick. I believe that it would have worked better with the surrounding buildings if the bricks had been dark brown or ochre… but no, nobody asked me.

Might I add that the interior looks really well – very modern, very good quality and wonderful views across Dublin Bay. My three watercolours were placed at one end of the space (see them below). They were part of my series of ‘empty hearths’ in abandoned homes in Co. Donegal, reflecting on emigration and the human dimension to the economic situation.

Home at the dlr Lexicon, Dún Laoghaire, photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Do come and visit the show, it’s on until the 22nd of March.  More information at:


Also, visit www.emacl.com  and


and let us know what you think 🙂







  1. Congratulations on being selected. I like the building really, it is bold, and the interior looks fun.
    I love the watercolour, it is fresh and crisp. Sorry to make your painting sound like lettuce, 🙂 but those are the words that come to mind. And I like the 3 displayed at the end there.


  2. If I lived in Dublin I’d definitely come to see the exhibition. I’m intrigued – more photographs than paintings… hmm… were they really that good, the photographs that is?
    Well, I’m really glad you are exhibiting 3 of your paintings. Watercolour is a really serious medium, not everyone can master it; yours is very impressive. By the way, I thought you were a fan of oils? Lets say you surprised me 🙂
    As for the building – I like it. I love its location, as you can end your trip to the library with a nice stroll along the coast (this would be a perfect day out for me). K.


    • Hi Kristina, yes I normally paint in oils but I felt for that particular project, the old abandoned houses, that watercolour was appropriate. They’re sort of old fashioned, from another era, don’t you think? As for the new building, yes I like it too – and there is a lovely walk by the sea there. There is a long harbour wall out to the lighthouse. Thanks for your comment, eoin

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