Child of the Republic

Paul, oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn 2013
“Paul”, 80 x 90 cm, oil on canvas, 2013

Actually, Paul wasn’t his real name, I just made it up.  Over the years I’ve made several large paintings of people who were homeless for a body of work entitled: Dídean/Home.

Mostly I found images online or in the newspapers to use as references for these paintings, images that one might see on a Sunday morning and forget about by Monday.  But by taking a small photo of someone and making a large painting of it, it added significance to that person’s story.

diptych oil paintings by Eoin Mac Lochlainn on the themem of homelessness
diptych 90 x 165 cm, oil on canvas, 2014

Significance?  Why is it we mostly see portraits of kings, chancellors or governors?  Who is more important – the businessman, the bus driver or the bin man?  During the pandemic, we began to realise who the actual essential workers were – but now, it seems that all that is forgotten.  As for the homeless – who knows what goes on in another person’s life, what circumstance, what trauma led to his unhappy situation?

(Some of these oil paintings can still be seen at The Olivier Cornet Gallery).

expanded painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn on the themem of Homelessness
On the Lookout,  90 x 80 cm, mixed media, 2012

I decided to post this today since the scandal of homelessness is in the news again.  I wrote it last Monday, the 24th of April – Republic Day – with the words of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic still ringing in my ears:

The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally…

And lately I had come across a blog by the late writer and journalist Tom Stokes. He was the founder and organiser of the Citizens’ Initiative for Republic Day to establish a new national day in Ireland on April 24th, the anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916.

Olivier Cornet Gallery.


Irish Republic Day




  1. I remember seeing some of this series at Olivier Cornet Gallery. The paintings are stunning! It’s interesting when you say that homelessness is in the news again. The pandemic was going to change how we support each other. The only thing that really changed is that the poor have become poorer, and the wealthy have become wealthier.


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