The whole world has gone MAD!

Painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn for Didean/Home exhibition at the Paul Kane Gallery
Nameless no. 3,  90 x 80cm, oil on canvas

Sometimes I just feel like covering my head with a blanket. I’ll tell you about that in a minute but first:  tomorrow night (Friday, the 20th of September) is Culture Night in Ireland. It has been going on for a good few years now but, what does it mean?

My dictionary tells me that “Culture” is  ‘the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society’. If that’s the definition, then culture is everything we do. But if it means everything, then it means nothing. Maybe we need a new word.

But deep down we all know what this word “Culture” means. It’s not everything, is it?  What we’re really talking about is the creative activity of a whole host of talented, artistic people – artists, writers, musicians and such – and when we go out for ‘a bit of culture’, we’re not going out for a bag o’ chips or to do the weekly shop; we’re going out to see a play or a concert or an art exhibition etc.

The National Gallery of Ireland

Anyway, on Culture Night, all the arts and cultural organisations open their doors until late with hundreds of free events, tours, talks and performances to be enjoyed around the country.  Plenty going on at the Olivier Cornet Gallery, of course.

Claire Halpin’s solo exhibition ‘RAW WAR’ opened there last thursday; Pearse McGloughlin and Nocturnes will be performing there again this year, and I’ll be enjoying the night as part of the audience.

But I remember another year, I spent the night under a blanket!

performance by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
My performance in the National Gallery

That was in the National Gallery of Ireland as part of a Tondo group exhibition, sitting on a sheet of cardboard, covered by a blanket (see above).

It was a new experience for me – a performance on the theme of homelessness. Actually, it wasn’t simply about homelessness, you could say that it was a metaphor. Something about the struggles of the artist, the struggles of life, struggles that everyone encounters from time to time. Don’t we sometimes just want to hide from the world?

Because, as me mother would’ve said:  “The whole world has gone mad”.

Sometimes, we just need to retreat for a while.  What do you think?


Culture Night


  1. Thanks Eoin : the closest I’ve come to a contemporary working response , is that of Joanna Macy and her ‘Active Hope’ paradigm in an increasingly ‘mad’ World . She just turned 90 ; Jane Goodall is like Joanna in life’s circle, and friend to Greta , only 16 – these women channel the wisdom of our age – ACTIVE hope can help us realise it , if we have time ; the global School Strike this Friday is a great precursor to ‘culture’ night – lets support it ?


  2. Faoiseamh a gheobhadsa Seal beag gairid I measc mo mhuintir Ar oileán mara And all that sort of thing!


  3. If culture means everything it means nothing – I agree. I often think that what is presented as culture in year of/ day of/ city of/ … culture is anything but. Certainly a lot of the rubbish presented has absolutely nothing to do with (our) “particular people or society”. An bhfuil an ceart agam?


  4. There’s a fair bit of excitement in Cork for this event. I discovered a new art studio called Sabhrann on one of the quays. Any idea what Sabhrann means?


    • Hi Clíona, good to hear from you. They say that the city of Cork was built on a series of 13 islands. The channels between all of these islands have mostly been built over at this stage but two still remain: the river Lee (North Channel), and the river Sabhrann (South Channel).  Did you ever hear the phrase: “Down the Lee and up the Sabhrann” – well, that’s what it’s about!  All the best, eoin


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