The Diaspora and the Irish weather

oil painting of empty fireplace by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Fionnuala tells me that it’s called ‘the anti-cyclonic gloom’ . It’s nothing to worry about, it’s not terminal, but it generally keeps our little island shrouded in a misty, fecky, damp grey miserable blanket of cloud for most of the month of January.

She also tells me (she’s doing a climate course) that the third week in January is most likely to be the dampest, feckiest, miserablist week of them all. But the other day, let me tell you that it was 10 degrees celsius in Dublin – the same day that it was snowing in Venice – so that can’t be bad!

But why am I telling you this? Well, this ‘anti-cyclonic gloom’ is probably the reason that I’m painting empty fireplaces again, my “Tinteáin Tréigthe” series, because if one ventures out these days in search of inspiration, up in the hills around Dublin, one might find oneself on a fool’s errand: – Nothing to see, it’s all over lads, have yez no homes to go to?

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of a cottage in Donegal

So I wander off and investigate some deserted old cottages instead. I have been painting empty fireplaces in abandoned homes in the hills for a few years now. I think about how central the fireplace once was to the home, how people used to keep the fire going throughout the night and throughout the year, and how the fireplace really was the heart of a home.

Seeing them abandoned and cold, each with their own distinctive personality, was quite moving so I started a series of paintings as a requiem for those people who had gone, a memorial to the Irish diaspora.

and if you don’t believe me, check out:






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