Nature takes over

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of empty fireplace in abandoned home on the West coast of Ireland

Nature takes over, gradually covering the ground and climbing the walls of crumbling dwelling places.  Yes, back up in North West Donegal again and searching for a house where my great grandmother once lived.  This time I had it on good authority that her one-roomed cottage was one of a small group of cottages, ‘a black dot near the letter “S” of Newtown Springfield’ on the map, not far from An Tamhnaigh… Hmmm, exactly how far was ‘not far’, I wasn’t sure.

Well I’ve written about my fascination for crumbling buildings before but here we go again – I have an exhibition in An Gailearaí in Gaoth Dobhair, a solo show entitled Tinteáin and I’m really happy to have the show here because it’s where I first began my series of paintings of empty fireplaces. (The painting above is one of my more recent ones). I’ve told the story of the fireplaces before – see the link below:

A few years ago I was on an artist’s residency near Gort a’ Choirce when I met up with the poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh. He showed me one of his poems – Na Bailte Bánaithe – about how spirits haunt the land, long after the people who lived there had gone.  Here’s a short extract, with my translation below.

Tá ochlán chaointe sa ghaoth 

a shéideann aniar ó Altán

is anseo tá damhán alla

ag fí aibíd an bháis

i bhfuinneog bhearnach an tseantí

inar chonaí mo chineál fadó.


There’s a loud wailing cry on the wind

that blows eastward from Altan

and a spider weaves a shroud

in the vacant window of the house

 where my people lived long ago.

…and my uncle mentioned a painting of Mulroy Bay by my grandfather and we wondered what had happened to it. Well I don’t know but I did a painting of Mulroy Bay myself, let’s see now… probably 25 years ago now.  That’s it below, possibly the same view that my great grandmother had, fadó fadó agus is fadó bhí… 

Oil painting of Mulroy Bay, Co Donegal by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

PS:  The solo exhibition Tinteáin follows on from my Diaspora exhibition  with the Olivier Cornet Gallery in Dublin last October.  It’s on the same theme but all of the works are new.




  1. Best of luck for the show Eoin, Both are really fine pieces. It’s interesting to see even with twenty five years gap that your signature and spirit are clearly evident in both. Congratulations.


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