Oil painting by John O'Grady of the Plough and the Stars over Dublin City
“The Starry Plough”, by John O’Grady

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité – Today, I’m thinking about Fraternité: not brotherhood as such but solidarity, mutual support, Comrádaíocht… and it’s something we need more of, these days, I reckon.  The old Irish tradition of the Meitheal, where groups of neighbours got together to help each other in turn (with farm work mostly) – I believe that it’s coming back. I hope it is. Don’t you think that it’d be great if we all looked out for each other, all for one and one for all?

The painting above is “The Starry Plough” by John O’Grady.  It is featured in the group exhibition “Republic”, now on at the Olivier Cornet Gallery.  It recalls the early days of trade unions in Ireland, and the men and women of the Irish Citizen Army who took part in the Easter Rising.  “Looking out across the sea of lights from Montpelier Hill”, writes O’Grady,  “each light is a life, a citizen.  Overhead every night, the ‘Starry Plough’ shines brightly”… and every night, the Plough returns, a reminder that James Connolly’s words are still with us and still very relevant to this day”.

We’re going to have a panel discussion in the gallery next week. This exhibition has raised so many issues and interesting topics during the course of its run – so we thought we’d bring together a panel of artists and experts to discuss these issues. We will also consider the role of the artist in commemoration. Boy, oh boy, when I think back to the original briefs for the Centenary Programme… and that video

Anyway, a lot of good stuff has happened since then, a lot of people got involved. Any thoughts yourself about how it all went?  Your comments are always welcome.  I don’t think I heard from you for a while… ?  The panel discussion takes place at 7pm next Thursday, the 25th of August, 2016. That should be lively 🙂

John O’Grady Paintings




  1. reminds me of your Father’s poem To Dublin 1949.

    I sat on Montpelier. of an evening in the Autumn. Do you know it?. It is in the 78. {with a typo:<)}

    peace to you Charlotte


  2. Thanks very much Eoin and for the interesting details on the ‘Meitheal’ also I read with interest Charlotte’s comment on your Father’s poem about Dublin, written the year of the ‘Ireland Act’ . I love the opening line ‘and saw Dublin winking at me with her myriad light eyes in the dusk’.


  3. Hi Eoin, I went on my first meitheal a few weeks ago to help a friend plaster his straw-bale house that he has more or less built single-handedly. Martin suggested a meitheal and it was great fun and a real boost to our friend and his family. And, we all learned a lot about old-fashioned, sustainable hotlime plastering – an amazing technique for securing walls from the weather. Also, a philosopher of sustainability (Glenn Albrecht – check his blog) wrote to me recently; he writes that we need to move to a new politics founded on mutualism, where all thrive together – it has to move back to this if we and other species are to survive, doesn’t it.


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