Culture, Historic

Whose side are you on – the people’s – or the moguls’

1916 re enactment from 1916 - the Last Stand film

Well, unusually for me – I was at a film première last week – the première of the Marcus Howard film: 1916 – The Last Stand. It was screened at Liberty Hall, once the headquarters of the Irish Citizen Army and a focal point for radical politics in the years leading up to the Easter Rising of 1916.

For the last few years, Howard has been filming the stories of relatives of the men and women who took part in the Easter Rising but he found that, again and again, the story of Moore Street kept getting mentioned.

It was upstairs in a house in Moore Street that the leaders of the Rising held their last stand and where they decided to surrender  “in order to prevent the further slaughter of the civilian population…” (see Pearse’s note below) This house still exists as does several of the original buildings where the 300 volunteers spent their last days of freedom but – would you believe that this historic street and its associated backlanes could soon be obliterated to make way for one vast SHOPPING MALL?

Pearse's surrender note from the film, 1916 The Last Stand

Yes, there was a court case taken to stop the “development” and the High Court judge found in favour of saving Moore Street. He recommended that the entire area of the last battle be preserved as a National Monument. That was great news – except the Government Minister assigned to protect our heritage is appealing this judgement.

It would seem that she would prefer to keep the property moguls happy rather than preserve the scene for future generations.


Proposed-Moore-Street-Shopping mall
Just four houses would remain, dwarfed by the new Shopping Mall

After the film, there was a question and answer session and Marcus talked about how the films came about. “The reason I do it”, he said, “is because I want to create an online library so that future generations won’t be left saying: I wish I’d asked more questions…

But with Moore Street, you can walk the lanes where the rebels fell, you can visualise what it must’ve been like. So the campaign to save Moore Street has taken on a special significance because it clearly exposes whose side you’re on. Are you enthralled by big business or do you believe that there are more important lessons to pass on to our children – ideas about equality, the common good, standing up for what is right…

"They're Destroyers - not Developers", Moore Street campaigner Diarmuid
“They’re Destroyers – not Developers”  – Moore Street campaigner Diarmuid Breathnach

1916 – The Last Stand documents the campaign from the beginning and tells the inspiring story of the personalities who kept going against all the odds to ensure that Moore Street will remain forever at the heart of Dublin and, more importantly, to keep alive the memory of all those who sacrificed so much to establish a republic that would “cherish all the children of the nation equally”.

All the images above are from the film.  There will be more screenings soon at various locations around the country but If you would like to order the film, you can contact Marcus at or check out the links below.

PS: Oh, and by the way, I have a cameo role in this movie!

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Marcus Howard, director of 1916 - the Last Stand
Marcus Howard, director of “1916 – the Last Stand”   (photo: Eoin Mac Lochlainn)

Culture, Historic

Desecration in Dublin’s Moore Street

This banner has since been removed. It was deemed illegal, its installation having damaged the National Monument.

So Limerick has the Milk Market and Cork has the English Market – how come Dublin’s Moore Street Market has been so sadly neglected?  The main reason is because successive governments didn’t want us to remember our history.

But we know what happened at Easter 1916. We know that a relatively small group of people decided to challenge the status quo, to confront the establishment and to proclaim a republic that would treat all the people equally. And Moore Street was where they took their last stand.

And we know that the idealism of the rebels was not matched by those who eventually took control of our destiny. Isn’t there always those business people who can only think in shillings and pence? Those who cannot appreciate the spiritual or cultural aspects of life?  Why, oh why do we let them run the show?

And we allowed them to snuggle up to the speculators and to sell off our heritage to the highest bidder. “Mór mo náir’, mo chlann féin do dhíol a máthair…”

Have you been down in Moore Street lately?

Have you heard about the speculator’s plans? If it wasn’t for the various Save Moore Street groups, the whole area would’ve been demolished long ago and a massive shopping mall built in its place.

But a High Court decision put a stop to that. Last year, Mr Justice Max Barrett ruled that the entire Moore Street Battlefield site, including all its backlanes, constituted a National Monument and therefore was the responsibility of the Minister for the Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

But what did she do? She lodged an appeal against the judgement and this won’t be heard until next December. In the meantime, the neglected old buildings are steadily deteriorating…

The back room in No.16 Moore Street, where it is said that a wounded Connolly lay and a surrender was first discussed by Pearse and the other leaders. Image: Franc Myles
The back room in No.16 Moore Street, where the wounded James Connolly lay and where Patrick Pearse and the others first discussed the surrender.  Photo by Franc Myles from the Archaeology of 1916 blog (see the link below)

Oh and she set up a Ministerial Consultative Forum to make “recommendations”. (I spoke at this myself – here)    They launched the report this week but the minister’s appeal is still going ahead.

Why? Well, I reckon that by demolishing the Moore Street Battlefield site, they thought that they could bury our history. Build more retail units. Keep people shopping. I reckon that they don’t want people to imagine a different future where idealism, equality and local communities can flourish.  “They think they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have pacified Ireland…”

No Minister, you must drop that appeal.  Your role must be to protect our heritage and to preserve it for future generations.  

Oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn: Tinteán Tréigthe, 50 x 50cm, oil on canvas, 2017
Tinteán Tréigthe, 50 x 50cm, oil on canvas, 2017

You see this painting above? It is an empty fireplace from one of the oldest houses in Dublin. (No. 9, Aungier Street) There has been an awful lot of money spent on the renovation of this rickety old house.  Not because of any particular historical event but simply because it predates the Georgian houses by fifty years. It’s quite safe to do this – it won’t arouse the people’s emotions. But to remind people of the struggles of their forefathers? – That could be risky. That could open a whole can of protesting worms… Better to destroy the evidence before they realise it.

But it didn’t work!

However, we still need to be vigilant. I don’t think that they can be trusted to do the right thing now.  Do you?  Your comments are always welcome. But you could also write to the minister here   and ask her to drop the appeal.

(By the way, the painting above is part of the exhibition “Silent Stories” at Belltable in Limerick at the moment.  This is a 2 person show with Miriam McConnon, curated by Olivier Cornet and it continues there until the 7th of April )


art exhibitions, Culture

As they say in Limerick: “Cmereiwantcha”

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of empty fireplace
“Tinteán Tréigthe no. 31”,  50 x 50cm, oil on canvas, 2017

We didn’t have a dresser in our kitchen.  We only had shelves with hooks for the cups. The gas cooker was in a room on its own, called the scullery.

Kitchen units? – we’d never heard of them. But we had a fireplace, with a fire that never went out. Maybe that’s why I started my series of paintings of old fireplaces. They hold so many memories in their dusty hearths.

And in the upcoming 2 person show “Silent Stories” at the Belltable in Limerick, I’ll be showing some new pieces (see one above). I think that they’ll work well alongside Miriam McConnon’s paintings of domestic objects.

Because, whether we sit at a fireplace and poke at the flames or whether we peel the potatoes or dry the dishes or just drink tea from a chipped teacup, we get used to the ordinary things around us, they become part of our lives. They reveal something of the story of our lives.

Photo of tintean at home by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Yes, the photo above is one I came across in the attic this morning. It’s the tinteán we had in my mother’s house. The photo was taken after she died and the fire was no longer lit. An embroidered fireguard covers the void. A couple of holy statues and a lot of postcards on the mantelpiece. That unfortunate Child o’ Prague – it had fallen and been repaired so many times…

The painting below is one of Miriam’s. Coloured Threads. They remind me of my mother, sitting in front of the fire, sewing.

Miriam McConnon : "Coloured Threads", 50 x 50 oil on canvas
Miriam McConnon : “Coloured Threads”, 50 x 50, oil on canvas, 2016

But cmere – our 2 person show “Silent Stories” opens at the Belltable on Saturday, the 11th of March. More of the story at –


Culture, Historic

The last of the true believers ?

painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Pearse' Cottage in Ros Muc
an oil painting of Pearse’s Cottage in Ros Muc – one I painted about twenty years ago

Do you ever feel like you are a minority within a minority? Scroll down to read the English language version.

Bhuel, bhí comhdháil mór ar siúl in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ag an deireadh seachtaine, comhdháil leis an téama: 1916-2016: Dóchas agus Dúshlán na Ceannasachta Náisiúnta. Ó bhí gach sórt daoine támhachta ann – Enda Kenny T.D., an Dochtúir Maurice Manning, an t-iriseoir Fintan O’Toole, agus an tAire Seo, Siúd agus na Gaeltachta ina measc – ach cén mhaith dhom é, ní raibh mé ann…

Ach bhí mé ag ceann des na h-ócáidí imeallacha a bhain leis. ’Sé sin: Parlaimint na nDán a bhí á reachtáil ag Oireachtas na Gaeilge, le maoiniú ó Ealaín na Gaeltachta, agus bhí mé an-shásta a bheith ag glacadh páirt ansin. Thaispeáin mé mo ghearrscánnán “Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” ann agus labhair mé faoin tionchar a bhí ag comóradh 1916 ar mo chuid oibre. (Is féidir an scannán a fheiscint anseo )

Bhí Diarmuid de Faoite (drámadóir), Ríonach Ní Néill (Cóiréagrafaí) agus Nuala Ní Fhlathúin (físealaíontóir) ag glacadh páirt ann freisin agus Páraic Breathnach ina Cheann Comhairle.  Bhí roinnt cainte againn ansin faoin maoiniú a bhí ar fáil do chomóradh 1916 agus faoi na coinníollacha a bhí ag baint leis.

the before and after photos of Tobar Bhriocán, the holy well in Ros Muc
Tobar Bhriocán Naofa – mar a bhí anuraidh agus mar atá anois

Ar aghaidh liom ansin, siar go dtí Ros Muc leis an t-ionad nua ag Teach an Phiarsaigh a fheiscint. Bhuel, nach mór an feall. Nach raibh an chruatain riamh i ndán dosna Gaeil. Tar éis a bheith ag fanacht le 30 blian le go dtógfaí ionad ceart leis an chaidreamh idir muintir Ros Muc agus an bPiarsach a chomóradh agus a cheiliúradh, céard a fuair siad sa deireadh ach ‘stopadh bus’ ar an Wild Atlantic Way.

Ní dóigh liom go mbeidh mórán de mhuintir na h-áite sásta leis. (ní dóigh liom gur iarr éinne orthu faoi, ar aon chaoi).

Céard faoin sliocht seo a leanas ón mbileog ioldaite faoi Ros Muc:  From turf-cutting to boat trips, historic houses to hill walks, rural landscapes to magical sunsets, Ros Muc is the perfect place to experience special family moments and create memories to share with your friends. ’nfheadar an raibh an té a scríobh an sliocht sin riamh i Ros Muc? An bhfaca sé nó sí rásaí na gcurrachaí riamh nó damhsa ar an seanós, nó… Nó ar léigh sé nó sí gearrscéalta an Phiarsaigh?

Ach ansin, lean mé orm isteach go dtí reilg Chill Bhriocáin. Bhí duine eicint tar éis slacht a chur ar an tobar naofa. Bhí an áit deas néata agus bhí leacht nua curtha acu ann. Thug an leacht simplí sin ardú meanman dom…

photo of 1916 centenary ceremonies at Teach an Phiarsaigh, Ros Muc 2016
The locals gathering outside of Pearse’s Cottage at Easter 2016

Yes, well somebody was saying that those who took part in the Easter Rising were a minority within a minority. This was intended to cast aspersions, perhaps, on the men and women who took a stand against the British Empire in 1916. That same somebody might also have asked: ‘But did they have a mandate to embark on such drastic action?’ To that person I would say: Did the British Empire ever seek a mandate to collonise or to plunder the resources of Ireland, or indeed, of half the world?

Anyway, I was thinking about minorities because, as part of the National Centenary Conference at NUI Galway at the weekend, I took part in a panel discussion entitled: Parlaimint na nDán, about the arts and commemoration. I showed my short film “Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” (you can view it again by clicking here) and I heard about productions that had received huge state grants and other projects that had struggled to subsist.

In the area around Ros Muc, where Patrick Pearse found his inspiration, they managed with very little state funding this year, despite the fact that a new “interpretive centre” was being built there for the tourists. They organised simple but meaningful commemorations, dignified solemn ceremonies and uplifting musical gatherings with readings from the short stories of Pearse. We felt very privileged to be able to attend these ceremonies at the Easter weekend.

So yes, it was a minority within a minority, as it always will be. There are precious few out there who are willing to stand out from the crowd and do what is right. But so be it. We must not lose heart. Níor chaill fear an mhisnigh ariamh é. (Fortune favours the brave, they say). What do you think?

art, Culture

Culture Night 2016

culture-night-logo for Scealta Ealaine as Gaeilge

Ag osnaí liom san oíche…  Éire Saor.  Ní h-amháin saor ach Gaelach chomh maith – sin a theastaigh uaidh an Piarsach i 1916.  Agus bhí cúigear den seachtar a shínigh Forógra na Poblachta gníomhach i Chonradh na Gaeilge. Céard a thárla ó shin?

Tógadh mise le Gaeilge i mBleá Cliath.  Ach d’fhás muid go ciúin agus labhair muid faoinár n-anáil – ag monabhar i nGaeilge, i bhfaitios go gcloisfí muid. Ach anois tá an saol athruithe. Is maith liom a bheith i mo chónaí i chathair ilchultúrtha agus bheith in ann aithne a chur ar dhaoine ó thíortha éagsúla agus teangacha éagsúla a chloisint.  Ach is cosúil nach n-aontaíonn gach duine liom.  B’fhearr le roinnt daoine go labharfaimis go léir i mBéarla!

“This is an English-speaking business”, a dúirt an fear thíos i gCorcaí, “we have a ‘language code’ in this establishment…”. Creid nó ná chreid, ní ligfeadh sé do óigfhear ó Chorca Dhuibhne Gaeilge a labhairt agus é ag obair sa mbeáir…

Agus tamaillín ó shin, bhí mé ag léamh blag an tSionnaigh Fhionn   agus bhí sé ag tabhairt sliocht ó alt le Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh…

I came to Dublin when I was 15 from a small Gaeltacht in Meath, and the Irish language wasn’t cool at all. Then, crazy as it may sound, the Hothouse Flowers came on the scene, and it became cool – and then became uncool again when I was 18.  When I was a teenager the reaction was, and still can be, “Stupid language: what’s the point?” Then the adult versions: “It was beaten into me”; “you’re all mad ’RA-heads”; and my favourite, “You get a grant for everything.”

My response is: I am so sorry, and that is all terrible, but guess what – I am the minority here, and, however difficult it was for you, it has been and still is a struggle just to respond to all of you. At times it’s racist. Nobody ever calls it that, but no other culture would tolerate it…

Agus sin é mo scéal inniu agus daoine eile ag smaoineamh ar an Oíche Chultúir a cheiliúradh…  duitse, leatsa, fútsa; domsa nó liomsa?  N’fheadar…

Is dóigh go raibh an teanga i m-aigne aríst nuair a chuir mé líníocht mhór d-eilefint san taispeántas sin i nGailearaí Olivier Cornet le déanaí.  Eibhlín Eilifint. Bhí orm í a ghlanadh den bhalla nuair a tháinig deireadh leis an taispeántas… ach aisteach go leor, thainig sé ar ais an mhaidin dár gcionn! Bhí ar Olivier dhá chóta breise péint a dhathadh thairis sul a d’imigh sí as radhairc ar fad. Agus tá seans fós go dtiocfaidh sí ar ais. Ní féidir í a chloí!

eilifint at Republic art exhibition at the Olivier Cornet Gallery
Děkuji Nele Ferenčíkové za fotografii.

art, Culture

“The world has gone mad”

Claire Halpin : 'Leavenworth II', 37 x 57cm, 2016
Claire Halpin : ‘Leavenworth II’, 37 x 57cm, 2016

I’m just back from Leipzig in Germany where I was caught up in the middle of a TERROR ALERT.  – Actually it turned out to be some teenagers in Austria making prank phonecalls to hotels in Germany but the Polizei were on the case immediately.  They closed down the no.12 tram (our one); they closed off the streets; more than one hundred officers from the Saxon state police special forces were deployed together with sniffer dogs, they erected security barriers around a small group of devout Protestants who were calling for Religionsfreiheit und Toleranz and… we were forced to walk into town for our supper.  But other than that, it was wunderbar.

And back in Ireland, next Friday night is Culture Night. (16th of September from 5pm until 11pm).  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 ‘The Glomar Response’ will be open by then; Pearse McGloughlin and Nocturnes will be performing songs from their new album ‘The Soft Animal’ and Jean Ryan will be conducting a storytelling event in the gallery.  This year, I’ll be able to enjoy the night as part of the audience.  I remember another year, I spent the night under a blanket!

That was in 2011 – I was in the National Gallery of Ireland as part of a Tondo group exhibition, sitting on a sheet of cardboard, covered by a blanket.  There was a concert going on in the restaurant next door, I could hear people laughing and chatting.  I felt ignored, unwanted, irrelevant… As I think of that now, I find that interesting because I imagine that it’s perhaps something of what the people who are homeless might feel.  I was there for just a few short hours, of course, and it was my decision to be there.  I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like for someone to be forced to sit and beg for help.

The National gallery at night
The National Gallery of Ireland at night
performance by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
‘Waiting’ – my performance in the National Gallery on Culture Night, 2011

I must say that it was really nice when a few people sat down beside me and talked to me through the blanket.  I realise now that it was an awkward situation.  People didn’t know how to react to me. I heard some people hesitantly call my name.  There was a lot of noise in the Gallery and sometimes I could hardly recognise the voice.  But I appreciated people’s support.  Normally at an exhibition it’s a lovely ‘party’ atmosphere, I love meeting all the guests and thanking them for coming etc. but this time, it was different.  I was the artwork!

It was a new experience for me. Actually, I didn’t mean it to be simply about homelessness and the inequalities of contemporary society.  It was a metaphor, I suppose… Something about the struggles of life, struggles that everyone encounters.  Don’t we sometimes just want to curl up and hide?  As me mother would’ve said:  “The world has gone mad”.  Sometimes, we need to step back and have a think about it…

PS:  Religionsfreiheit und Toleranz translates as: Religious freedom and tolerance


art, Culture

Ros Muc, 1916 – 2016

photo of Furze bushes at Ros Muc by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

(Click into the actual blog post and scroll down to read the English language version)

Bhuel, bhí sé go h-iontach a bheith i láthair i Ros Muc i mbliana le hÉirí amach na Cásca a chomóradh, céad bhliain níos déanaí.  Bhí brat na hÉireann ag foluain i ngach gáirdín agus cuma álainn ar an cheantar ar fad.  Bhí gach sórt imeacht ar siúl – ócáidí do pháistí, do dhéagóirí, do stairithe, do rothaithe(!) do ghaolta agus do chairde – ní fheicfear a leithéidí aríst ann.

Tá cór iontach ag Ros Muc, faoi stiúir ag Cathy Ní Chonaola, agus chan siad ag aifreann Domhnach Cásca agus aríst ag Teach an Phiarsaigh ar Luain Cásca. Chan Jimí Ó Ceannabháin agus Briocán Bairéad chomh maith agus bhí Raidió na Gaeltachta ann leis an ócáid a thaifeadadh ar an dá lá)

Is dóigh gurb é an rud is támhachtaí a thárla ná “Fleadh an Turlaigh Bhig” sa Chrannóg. Tháinig thart ar céad daoine le chéile le comóradh a dhéanamh ar an bhfleadh a chuir Pádraic Mac Piarais ar siúl san áit céanna fadó. Bhí béile deas againn, agus ceol agus craic, insan halla mór a bhí maisithe le pictiúirí álainne de chuid ealaíontóirí na h-áite. Bhí mo phictiúrsa (thíos) ag crochadh ann freisin, pictiúr a bhronn mé ar an Chrannóg ar Aoine an Chéasta.

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Patrick Pearse
An Piarsach, 96 x 120cm, oil on canvas, 2016

Ar maidin dé Luan tháing Raidió na Gaeltachta go dtí Teach an Phiarsaigh leis an chlár “Adhmhaidin” a chraoladh ann. Cuireadh agallamh ar mo dheartháir Fearghas agus léigh sé Forógra na Poblachta amach ag deireadh an clár.!rii=b17%5F20958839%5F2130%5F28%2D03%2D2016%5F

Is fiú go mór an clár seo a chloisint mar bhí cúpla agallamh an-spéisiúl air, ceann le Seosamh Ó Cuaig, ceann eile le Colm Ó Mainín agus le Frank Ó Máille.  B’é athair le Frank a chas leis an bPiarsach an chéad uair riamh ar tháinig sé go Ros Muc. Eisean a thug é ar a sidecar ón staisiún traenach sa Teach Dóite go dtí Tigh Uí Mháille i Ros Muc. Tá seomra codlata ina theach fós ar a dtugtar Seomra an Phiarsaigh air, áit a d’fhan an Piarsach ó am go h-am, sul a bhí teach aige dó fhéin.

Adhmhaidin ag craoladh ó Theach an Phiarsaigh phto by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Fearghas Mac Lochlainn
Fearghas Mac Lochlainn ar “Adhmhaidin”. My brother, inside Pearse’s Cottage in Ros Muc on Easter Monday

Lovely to be in Connemara to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising in Ros Muc. There’s so much to tell but I think I’ll just write about one item for now – and that’s Fleadh an Turlaigh Bhig (pronounced: Flah un Turly Vig) on Easter Sunday.

I didn’t mention the Earl of Dudley before, the British Lord Lieutenant in Ireland, but this fellow had an estate in Ros Muc (for fishing and shooting and the sort of carry-on that lords and ladies often did back then)(still do, I suppose). But once a year, he would host a sort of garden féte at Inver Lodge, for the locals – cucumber sandwiches, muffins and such, and English songs and stories – but Patrick Pearse heard of this and decided to host an alternative party on the same day, with Irish music and songs and stories of Ireland. Great craic altogether, dancing til dawn, caint agus comhrá, drams of Poitín perhaps… Anyway, this occasion was replayed here in Ros Muc on Easter Sunday and I was honoured and delighted to be there, with Fionnuala and my brother Fearghas and his wife Bríd and daughter Anna.

Fleadh an Turlaigh Bhig, Ros Muc
Fleadh an Turlaigh Bhig, Ros Muc

Fearghas and I were asked to speak (as we are great grand nephews of the Pearses). “Wasn’t it interesting”, I mused, “that we were two brothers here again, one an artist and the other a schoolmaster and writer…” And I presented a painting to the community (see above), one of a pair I’m painting of Patrick Pearse, this year. The other will be seen at the Harold’s Cross Festival in Dublin during the month of May.

The other main story was about the recording of a radio programme “Adhmhaidin” at Pearse’s Cottage on Easter Monday. It was great to be present to hear the various readings and musical items and the interviews with locals and historians (and local historians). Here’s a link:

I always look forward to your comments, i nGaeilge or in English.  Slán go fóill, eoin