I was looking through my old photos the other day and I came across this one from a few years back – the Healy Pass in the mountains between West Cork and Kerry.
See the little white house down there in the glen? I wondered what it would be like to live there. Ah, sometimes I think that I was a shepherd in another life, wandering over the hills with my old blackthorny shepherd’s crook…
But you know, even though it looked so appealing from afar, who knows what it was really like down there?
And, while I dream about wild and beautiful places like this, most of the time these days I’m working in my studio, making charcoal drawings for a project entitled: “Cogadh na gCarad” about the Irish Civil War of a hundred years ago. That conflict was probably worse in Cork and Kerry than anywhere else in the country. Atrocities, reprisals, brutality and fratricide.
I’m not taking sides. I wasn’t there. I just think that it was a terrible, terrible tragedy. Both sides in the conflict felt so strongly about it. I’ve no doubt that they were sincerely held views. Who knows today what stance we’d have taken – or how we’d have acted in the same situation. I’m just glad that I wasn’t asked to decide.
But I think that it’s important to remember the Civil War and to mark it – to remind ourselves that peace should never be taken for granted.
I’m making 1,400 drawings to commemorate the 1,400 dead and, in some way, to acknowledge this national trauma. These will be exhibited at the Olivier Cornet Gallery in March this year and there will be a special video projection of the images in the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, Dublin.