January is not a happy month

Johnny, 30 x 30cm, oil on canvas, 2011

Well, it’s not the first time I’ve mentioned Homelessness in Ireland on this blog – and it probably won’t be the last. According to recent figures from the Peter McVerry Trust, there was over 3,300 children experiencing homelessness here over the Christmas period.

So don’t tell me that we’re on the upturn.

I’ve never seen the like of this before. What kind of society do we live in where the poor, the sick and the unfortunate are sleeping in doorways on old bits of cardboard? And elderly people wait on hospital trolleys in overcrowded emergency departments?

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn on Homeless theme
Sleeping Bag, 65 x 75cm, oil on canvas, 2010

Generally, I try not to complain on this blog, I try to look for sources of inspiration, to light candles rather than curse the darkness but sometimes, one has to tell it like it is, don’t you think?  It’s just not right. I remember years ago, the then President Mary McAleese said that we would be judged on how well we looked after those people on the margins of our society.

Well, we’re not looking after them, are we?

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn on Homeless theme
On the margins, 60 x 60cm, oil on canvas, 2010

But wait, I should qualify that remark – the state is not looking after them. But the people still care. Once a month I stand outside our local church to collect for the Society of St.Vincent de Paul – and once a month, I’m chuffed and humbled by the generosity of the people there. Good neighbours. Good Samaritans.

Now, wouldn’t it be good if the government took a similar approach.

Oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of homeless man
Jimmy, 80 x 90cm, oil on canvas, 2012

The paintings on the blog this week are all old ones. I started them in the infamous era of the Celtic Tiger. Oh sure, there was plenty of money “sloshing” around those days – but not everyone was feeling the benefits of it. And not everyone was partying the night away…

Sorry, that’s my rant for today. Here’s me bus.

Society of St.Vincent de Paul

Peter McVerry Trust

See more of my paintings at the Olivier Cornet Gallery

Your comments are always welcome – see down below




  1. Well Eoin, good work – its what drew me to you ! – we need to vote LEFT ; otherwise we stay stuck with two centre-right civil-war parties dominating our politics / outcomes ; we get the government we deserve ? ; we need Ministers with determination and vigour like Dr Noel Browne who knew how to spend money purposefully. Tragically our Left is splittist and gets kicked by a ‘glic’ electorate . Think ‘Rouge et Vert’ today ?


  2. The brother would never take an egg… The brother wouldn’t look an at an egg…

    An-mhaith , fair play dhuit mar is gnách…

    An pictiúr é sin (Pic 2) de Johnny Waters (an fear a bhíodh faoin droichead agus an bhean sa bpram)?

    Agus an pictiúr é sin (Pic 3) den Whistler?



    • Bhuel, no, ní an Whistler a bhí ann cé go raibh mé ag ceapadh go raibh sé cosúil leis, agus Johnny? Ní eisean a bhí ann ach an oiread – ach an scéal céanna leisean – chuir sé Johnny i gcuimhne dom. Is dócha nach maireann ceachtar acu anois, go bhfóire Dia orainn


  3. It’s hard isn’t it, to be confronted with the world’s big problems. Especially as an artist, we wonder what we can do. Sometimes it is enough just to do one’s work- the commitment, dedication, expertise of serious artists does leak out into the surroundings and heal them in subtle ways. Just the example of an artist’s life fully lived inspires and helps a society live toward our best dreams. There is a quote about the what the world needs,

    Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
    – Howard Thurman

    I think you are doing everything you can possibly do to make this a better world through your art Eoin. You’ve certainly opened my mind to issues I wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t ‘met’ you.
    warms, Sarah


  4. Paul is right about the vote, which we can’t afford to ignore, but you’ve hit the nail on the head, too – we can’t now or ever wait for the government to fix a human problem like this one. It’s up to the good Samaritan and the caring neighbour. Powerful artwork, Eoin.


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