art, News

Ireland wins but the Arts still bottom of the League


The people in the Dáil were all very friendly, I mean the staff who work there, the porters, the security staff – in fact, everyone we met inside – except for one (but perhaps he was just anxious about the Ireland/Italy match). We were there to hear the debate on a Fianna Fáil motion about the Arts in Ireland and we filled the public gallery to capacity!

A slightly surreal experience. We packed into the gallery above the Dáil chamber. We waited for the TDs to make their speeches about the “Importance of the Arts”. We’d heard it all before, to tell the truth. We agreed with nearly everything that was said – how the Arts feed our souls, stimulate our minds and lift our spirits; how the Arts define us as human beings; how our culture is what binds us together as a nation… there was a spontaneous clap for one deputy (but then we were gently reprimanded by the security staff: “I’m sorry, no clapping allowed here”). All very respectful. As you can see above, there was glass between us and the TDs – impossible to throw rotten fruit, if one felt so inclined…

Outside Leinster House (PS not many people know this but those metal gates were created by my ancestors J&C McGloughlin)
Outside the Dáil yesterday (most people were gone to watch the match)

Anyway, we heard that the government was not going to oppose the motion. So that was it – just a lot of talk. Of course, you know that Ireland’s state funding of the Arts is just one fifth of the European average. Some TDs were asking that it be brought up to European levels… but actually, if what was being said about the unique quality and importance of the Arts in Ireland is true – shouldn’t our state funding be even higher than the European average?

In my humble opinion, the Office of Public Works (OPW) plays a significant role in supporting artists in Ireland (by buying art for the state buildings). More significant than the Arts Council, I would say.  So here’s an idea – double their budget and allow them to buy more art. Not complicated.

Your comments please 🙂  thank you.

See the link for The National Campaign for the Arts below

See also –

Visual Artists Ireland (VAI)

PS:  not many people know this but those metal gates outside Leinster House were created by my ancestors J&C McGloughlin





Historic, News

Swopping their hurly sticks for real guns…

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Mount Argus Monastery Dublin

Now I live near Mount Argus Monastery in Harold’s Cross so let me tell you what was happening there during Easter 1916.  Where to start – well, I could report that on Good Friday that year, there was an unusually high attendance at the afternoon ceremonies and a high proportion of young men wanting to go to Confession (!)  Patrick Pearse and his brother Willie were among the attendees, as was Eamonn Ceannt and Joseph Mary Plunkett. (Larkfield, the Plunkett family estate was just up the road).

Of course, the Pearse family was well acquainted with the monastery, they had converted to Catholicism there, they had produced fine stone sculptures for the interior of the church and they were regular visitors. In a witness statement by Fr Eugene Nevin CP, he reports that on one occasion, he asked Patrick when they were going to swop their hurly sticks for real guns, Patrick grinned and replied – ‘it might be sooner than you think’.

Not all the priests were in favour, of course, and the Rector was certainly opposed but Pearse, though a devout Christian, was not one to be cowed by the Church authorities.

Now, you might’ve read some of my previous posts on Scéalta Ealáine about my following Pearse’s footsteps in Ros Muc in the West of Ireland but isn’t it interesting that there are all these connections so close to home as well?  So now, my art project is really a two location project. I’ll be bringing it all back home during the Harold’s Cross Community Festival in May this year.  The 3rd of May was the date that Patrick Pearse, my great grand uncle, was executed for his part in the Easter Rising.

photo of Patrick and Willie Pearse

Here’s a photo that my grandfather Alfred McGloughlin took. It was hanging in our family home for years. It’s a photo of his uncles. Interestingly, it’s the only one around where Patrick is (sort of) smiling…

There’s a new section in the St. Charles museum at Mount Argus about the connections with 1916 and there’s a long and interesting witness statement by Fr Eugene Nevin CP in the bureau of military history.  Here’s a link below.





art, News

Golden Standards

Oil painting "The ties that bind", 182 x 152cm, oil on linen, by Jennifer Trouton
“The ties that bind”, 182 x 152cm, oil on linen, by Jennifer Trouton

Now needless to say, I don’t get to many awards ceremonies so it’s always a pleasure to go to the Golden Fleece Award ceremony at Dublin Castle. This prestigious award was set up in 2001 and, since then, has awarded close to €300,000  to artists and craftspeople in the various artistic disciplines in Ireland. It was established by the late Helen Lillias Mitchell who was an artist, a craftsperson, a teacher – and a true patron of the arts.

To quote from her Letter of Wishes to the trustees of the Golden Fleece Award:

“It has always been my wish that those with talent be encouraged to develop their talents, particularly in Ireland … I am very conscious of the fact that many artists cannot develop their talents because their art does not bring in a steady income for them and yet they need to support themselves financially … My wish is to give artists a ‘boost’ in times of particular need … I have set up this trust [for] artists in need who are interested in pursuing their careers as artists.”

Well, at the ceremony on Tuesday, last year’s winner Siliena Coyle told us how the award had helped her.  She was able to attend a conference in America which brought her to the attention of several international crafts organisations, she was invited to show her work at another conference in Beijing… her career has gone from strength to strength. It’s fair to say I think, that the ‘boost’ she got from the Golden Fleece Award was far-reaching.

This year’s winner was Jennifer Trouton who has been exploring the personal histories found in everyday interior spaces.  “Recently, I have been focusing on wallpaper and fabrics”, she writes, “playing on their comforting familiarity to tell wider, universal stories of class-warfare, of diasporas brought about by economic circumstance and of the women who bore the brunt of societal changes not of their making”.

The Special Merit award winners were Liam Flynn, Gerry Davis and Sara Flynn. Here are some images of their work below…

Liam Flynn
Gerry davis
Gerry Davis
Sara Flynn
Sara Flynn

In his address to the assembly, Neil Read, chairman of the judging panel, noted that there is always three elements involved in the work – art, craft and design – and he praised the high standard attained by the finalists in each of those elements. Read further about the Golden Fleece Award at:


art, News

A Parcel in the Post from Poland

christmas decorations by Eoin Mac Lochlainn



I got a parcel in the post this morning, such a lovely surprise. A Christmas parcel, beautifully wrapped, just like you’d imagine a Christmas parcel should be wrapped, with ribbons, tissue paper, twinkling glitter… really not what I’m used to at all. When I grew up, I don’t think we even wrapped our presents. We just presented them in the brown paper bags they were bought in! But this was really lovely. It came from a friend from Poland.

What was it? Well, this is a tradition they have in Poland, people send each other decorations from their Christmas trees – it was a beautiful little house to put on our tree. As you see above, it’s already there.

Bíodh Nollaig mhór mhaith agaibh go léir, a cháirde, tá súil agam go mbíonn am deas agaibh. Go raibh míle maith agaibh as bhúr dtacaíocht i rith na bliana agus go n-éirí go geal libh san bhliain seo chugainn.

Happy Christmas everyone! Thanks for all the comments and ‘likes’.


painting of bonfire in alleyway by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Fireplace, 2014


PS: I’ve just learned that the Office of Public Works has bought my painting from the winter group show at The Olivier Cornet Gallery




Art musings, Gaeilge, News

Éist! – what kind of Society do we want?

drawing by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

What is more important? – that we resolve this economic mess that the speculators and their political cronies have got us into – or that we look after each other and try to live good and worthwhile lives?  I’m sick of the cutbacks, the broken promises, the unkindness, I’m sick of it.

Now I’m not going to make a big rant here (although you know I could) but it wouldn’t help me, I’d just get all riled up, and that wouldn’t help anyone. But I’ve two things on my mind today so here goes.

First, to quote from Jeanette Winterson in The Guardian: There is more to life than the material world can provide, and art is a clue, an intimation, at its best, a transformation. We don’t need to believe in it, but we can experience it. The experience suggests that the monolith of corporate culture is only a partial reality.  In other words – isn’t there more to life than balancing the books. But day in and day out we hear about the state of the economy, the need for cutbacks, the sacrifices we have to make…  I really believe that Irish society will be the poorer if we keep cutting funding to the Arts. In the Celtic Tiger years, we built the infrastructure, we built fancy new art centres all over the place. Now, by denying them funding, they are being left empty. What a waste! See more about “What art is for” at

Secondly, I’m talking about Irish culture and, in particular, the Irish language. You might’ve heard that the Coimisinéir Teanga Seán Ó Cuirreáin (the Language Ombudsman) resigned in protest recently because of the lack of political support for his efforts. You guessed it – severe cutbacks in the Irish language sector too. Read a good article by Seán Mag Leannáin about this at

Anyway, there’s going to be a major demonstration in support of the Irish language in Dublin on Saturday, the 15th of February (see Lá Mór na Gaeilge).  It will begin at the Garden of Remembrance at 2pm and there’ll be lots of music and craic.

Bígí linn, for goodness sake, Bígí linn! Or don’t you think that there’s more to life than balancing the books? So my question for you today is: What kind of society do you want?

PS: The image above is one of the pieces from my upcoming solo exhibition:  Dídean/Home, in Port Laoise in March/April 2014. More about that later.


To all my friends out there in Bloggyland

Joyeux Noël ~ Buon Natale ~ Fröhliche Weihnachten ~ Wesołych Świąt ~ Happy Christmas ~  Glædelig jul ~ Շնորհավոր Սուրբ Ծնունդ ~ საშობაო მისალოცი … Beannachtaí na Nollag,

 le gach dea-ghuí don Nollaig agus i gcónaí, ó Eoin

painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Do drop in and visit my website at

PS: my next solo show will be in March 2014 at the Dunamaise Arts Centre – see