“Was it for this the wild geese spread the grey wing upon every tide? – For this that all the blood was shed…”

small oil painting of Patrick Pearse by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

I would’ve thought that Yeats Day was just a very special day up in Sligo but no, it’s actually over two and a half weeks long! This extravaganza of poetry, drama, lectures, exhibitions, music (and cake) is a celebration of one of Ireland’s great poets and they tell me that it’s a chance to celebrate and promote creativity in Ireland and to reconsider the role of culture, community and the arts in the contemporary world. (more about that on the Yeats2016 website here  )

Hmm – hasn’t the new government just downgraded the department of Arts again. And 80% of visual artists in Ireland still living below the poverty threshold, most of them depending on the support of family members to survive.  Maybe this year, as we commemorate those who died in the Easter Rising – ‘the poet’s rising’, as someone called it – maybe it’s time alright, to think about what value we put on the arts and on the artists. Would you say that perhaps we’re taken for granted in some quarters?

But anyway, if you’re reading this,  I know you’re not one of those people 🙂 and I just meant to tell you about this one exhibition up in Sligo. It’s entitled: “A terrible beauty is born” and it opens tonight, Thursday 2nd of June in the Hamilton Gallery on Castle Street. It features the work of over 70 of Ireland’s contemporary visual artists, responding to the Yeats’ poem – “Easter 1916”.  That’s my painting from the show, up above. The exhibition continues until the 27th of August.

And, you might have noticed that I don’t often refer to articles in the Irish Independent newspaper in this blog – but here’s a link to one below, an article by Kirsty Blake Knox that ‘tells it like it is’ …


As usual your comments are always welcome.








  1. Congratulations on wonderful ‘visionary’ portrait Eoin. The 70 artists have created a fascinating range of work in Sligo. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought I’d add this quote from an article by Fintan O’Toole in the Irish Times…

    “Yet, by European standards, the infrastructure for supporting the arts in Ireland is not even third class. The fairest comparison is to look at cultural spending as a proportion not of gross domestic product (a dodgy measure in Ireland) but of total public expenditure. On this measure Ireland’s official outlay is staggeringly low. The Council of Europe’s Compendium project gives the median share of cultural spending in 24 countries as 1.54 per cent. Ireland’s is 0.3 per cent – a fifth of the median. It’s not just that this is much lower than in Germany or Sweden: it’s lower than any other European country – lower even than Azerbaijan. The only country that comes even close to being as bad is Greece, with its imploding economy”.

    wouldn’t it just make you sick…


Leave a Reply, I'd like to hear your viewpoint.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s