The Common Good

painting of PH Pearse by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
“…to sacrifice themselves for the common good”

You may remember back in May, artists were invited to respond to The Proclamation of the Irish Republic for an exhibition in Clones, Co. Monaghan. The idea was that they would request a postcard from the Clones Art Studios (which is based in the old Post Office in Clones) and they would turn it into a small artwork and post it back for the exhibition. This exhibition was curated by Eileen Ferguson and proved to be a really interesting show.

Now the exhibition has been invited to the Galerie la Vieille Poste in Larroque in the south of France – and of course, this is la galerie de mon vieil ami, Kenneth Hay.  And of course, both art spaces are based in old post offices.  My piece for the show in Larroque is above, it’s a photoshopped version of a large painting that I did earlier this year.  I’m doing a lot of work in photoshop these days, enjoying messing around with virtual artworks on the computer, instead of painting real ones in the studio.  It’s because I’m working on a video for my art project in Ros Muc… “Lens-based art”, they call it.  A change is as good as a rest, I suppose, but you know, I can feel the studio calling me back.

photo by Ken Hay
Galerie la vieille Poste, Larroque

No but, I wanted to emphasise the idea from the Proclamation of doing something for the “Common Good”.  An idea that seems to have lost currency these days. How did that happen, do you think?  We’re sorely in need of some visionary leadership again, I reckon.  Any thoughts?




  1. For such a brief post, this was certainly thought provoking; I suppose that’s the job of an artist, or part of it, anyway. I put your questions about the common good to my wife. She asked me why I thought the idea of “the common good” had lost currency, as you put it. I said that I thought it had something to do with the decline of common decency. To my shock, she agreed with me, and said that if you don’t have a sense of common decency, you have no sense of the common good, which consists of realising that you’re essentially here for others as well as yourself. I said that you couldn’t possibly provide visionary leadership without a grasp of this. She agreed again. I then said what she was saying sounded like Thomas Aquinas. She became irritated, blamed the whole mess on technology, went off to her sewing machine, and I posted this comment. Obviously this requires deeper thought. Thanks, Eoin. Sorry to bend your ear for so long. 🙂


    • always good to hear from you Óglach. As for Thomas Aquinas, I’m afraid I’ve never read any of his writings so I couldn’t comment on his saintly philosophy. However, I’ve been thinking recently that our problems have much to do Capitalism – the law of the jungle, the survival of the fittest – that with this system we are pitted against each other rather than being inspired to work together… Oh, don’t get me started… but why is Socialism a dirty word anyway? and isn’t there plenty of parallels between Socialism and Christianity? Best wishes to your wife (sorry if I’m the cause of any upsets) 😦 Beir beannacht agus bua, eoin


      • GRMA, Eoin, no worries, she’s an artist herself. I’m not a particularly religious man, but you’re right, there are many parallels between socialism and Christianity, particularly in some of the writings of Aquinas and even more modern theologians. Great craic in a debate. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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