Dara McGrath: For Those That Tell No Tales Full Texts

Number 43

Number 43

Site: Ellis’s Quarry
Private Henry Alfred Morris, British Army
Corporal Harold Daker, British Army
Sapper Albert G Camm, British Army
Sapper Albert Edward Powell, British Army

At 8pm, on the night of Sunday 10 July 1921, four soldiers, Private Morris (aged 21) and Corporal Daker (aged 28) of the South Stafforshire Regiment and Sappers Camm (aged 20) and Powell (aged 20) of the Royal Engineers were seized by a patrol of seven Volunteers while they were off-duty and in the city on a pass. Executed on the north side of The Lough, their bodies were dumped at Ellis’s Quarry on its south side.

All four were found blindfolded and shot dead. They were unarmed. The official report sent to IRA Headquarters simply stated: ‘We held up four soldiers and searched them but found no arms. We took them to a field in our area where they were executed before 9pm’.

It was suggested that the killing of these men was a reprisal by the IRA for the murder of Volunteer Denis Spriggs two days before.

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Number 44

Site: Elizabeth Fort
Mary Anne Ward, Civilian

Mary Anne Ward (aged 61) died of an apparent heart attack under conditions of stress while being removed from Elizabeth Fort on the night of 11 July 1920. A group of Volunteers forced an entry into that part of the forts building where the Wards were sleeping and ordered them to leave within five minutes.

As they made their way out, Mrs Ward collapsed into unconsciousness. The Volunteers then helped to carry the prostrate Mrs Ward across the street to Mrs Coughlan’s Pub.

William Lehane, the medical doctor at the inquest, suggested ‘cardiac failure, the result of fright,’ as the most probable cause of her death. Coroner William Murphy told the members of the jury that they should ‘find a verdict of death from heart failure, accelerated by excitement’.

Married for twenty-seven years, Mary and her husband Arthur (aged 57) were the parents of nine living children.

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Number 48

Site: Tuckey Street
Sarah Medalie, Civilian

Sarah Medalie (aged 53) died of a heart attack on 10 December 1920, owing to severe shock when she was suddenly awakened by the frenzied behaviour of a search party of British soldiers with flashlights during curfew hours.

The soldiers broke into the premises occupied by Medalie and her husband David, a wholesale general dealer’s shop at Tuckey Street, Cork city. Looking for members of the IRA, troops ransacked the shop. She died almost immediately.

Sarah Medalie left a husband, four children, and three grandchildren.

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Number 57

Site: Cattle Market Street
John Lucey, Civilian

John Lucey (aged 31) was shot and mortally wounded by the British army near Cattle Market Street (Glen Ryan Road), Cork, at about 10:15pm on 11 June 1921. Lucey was badly wounded in the chest and back and was rushed to the North Infirmary, but he was dead upon admission.

Lucey had worked as an engine fitter. He lived with his relatives, Andrew O’Connell (a Cork Corporation employee), his wife Bridget, and their daughter Mary, on North Main Street in Cork city centre.

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Number 47

Site: Sunday’s Well
Father James O’Callaghan, Civilian

Father James O’Callaghan (aged 38), who was attached to the North Cathedral, was shot dead by a party of Black and Tans on the night 15 May 1921, on the first floor landing of a house in Upper Janemount in the Sunday’s Well area of Cork city.

O’Callaghan was lodging in the house of Liam De Róiste, (Sinn Féin Alderman and TD William Roche), who was himself then on the run because of his fear that he was on a British ‘hit list’. The house had been raided by the RIC previously and on these occasions the police had met O’Callaghan so they knew that he was staying there as a guest.

O’Callaghan was from Enniskeane, and was educated in Maynooth. A fluent Irish speaker, he was professor in the Irish College, Ballingeary for some years. He is buried at Clogheen Churchyard.

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Number 15

Site: Blackpool
Constable Peter Coughlan, Royal Irish Constabulary
Constable John Ryle, Royal Irish Constabulary
Constable Patrick Hayes, Royal Irish Constabulary

The ‘Blackpool ambush’ was a notable IRA ambush. At about 4pm on Saturday afternoon, 14May 1921, a RIC patrol of two sergeants and five constables from Shandon RIC Barracks was attacked at the junction of O’Connell Street and Great William O’Brien Street by a unit of Volunteers from Cork No. 1 Brigade, two of whom threw bombs into the midst of the patrol.

Three of the RIC officers died in this incident and several others were injured. Constable Coughlan (aged 45) died on the scene; Constable Ryle (aged 46) died the following day in the Cork Military Hospital and Constable Hayes (aged 49), died on 23May.

Peter Coughlan left behind a widow and six young children. His remains were interred at Killarney, County Kerry.

John Ryle  had twenty-five years’ service in the Royal Irish Constabulary. Before becoming a policeman, he had been a farmer in County Kerry and was single.

Patrick Hayes had twenty-five years service in the RIC. He was also single.

Ten days after the incident, on 24May, British troops carried out reprisals and destroyed two public houses and two private residences in the Blackpool district.

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Number 4

Site: Rocky Lane
Michael Joseph Murray, Civilian

Michael Joseph Murray (aged 20) was shot dead when he attempted to run back to his residence at Cahill’s Villas (Cahillville) on 13 March 1921. The RIC reported that he had been executed by the IRA because Murray was said to be a fierce opponent of Sinn Féin and had refused to assist Volunteers in removing goods from the Railway station.

However, the facts do not support this report and it appears that an off-duty British soldier was responsible for shooting him.

Evidence given at a military court of enquiry indicated that Murray had been fatally shot by an off-duty NCO when he found Murray molesting a woman near Mount Vernon Terrace in the St. Luke’s area of Cork city.  Murray was reportedly on top of the woman when the British officer came upon the scene and heard her cries for help.

A woman claiming to have been the victim of an assault by Murray gave evidence in favour of the accused soldier, and he was acquitted.

Michael Murray was a fireman for the Great Southern and Western Railway and was an ex-soldier.

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Number 51

Site: Water Street
John (Joseph) Fleming, Civilian

On 7 December 1920, ex-navy seaman John Fleming (aged 36) of 17 Cattle Market Avenue was shot and mortally wounded in the abdomen as he was walking on Water Street with two brothers and an English ex-soldier friend.

As they were crossing the road, three police lorries containing uniformed men, with rifles pointing out over the side of the cars, passed at a rapid pace. John Fleming was the last man to cross the street, and as he did so, one of the rifles was discharged, possibly accidentally.

Assistance was rendered by other passers-by and neighbours endeavoured to staunch the flow of blood. An ambulance was quickly on the scene, and the wounded man was removed to the North Infirmary.

John Fleming died on the operating table. He had served twenty-one years in the Royal Navy and was demobilised in 1919.

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Number 38

Site: Lychester Lane
Private Albert ‘Bert’ Edward Whitear, British Army

The execution of six members of the IRA in Victoria Barracks in Cork on the morning of the 28 February 1921 led to members of Cork No.1 Brigade retaliating that evening by attacking off-duty British soldiers throughout the city.

A soldier witness at the subsequent court of military enquiry testified about the death of Albert ‘Bert’ Whitear (aged 20).

‘On the evening in question after hearing shots fired, I went to Empress Place RIC Barracks, where I knew a young woman whom I knew to be his friend. She said to me: “Bert has gone.” I said: “Gone where?” and she replied: “They have taken him away and shot him.” She told me it had occurred up Lovers’ Lane. She then took me to the spot where she had left him. A male servant came out of a private house close by and told me they had a wounded soldier inside. I entered the house with a stretcher. The two girls accompanied me and found him lying on the ground with a pillow under his head. The people in the house had done what they could for him. All Whitear said to me was: “They have got me.”’ He died shortly afterwards’.

Whitear was a member of the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. He was one of six children of Alfred and Jeanine Whitear of Portsmouth. He was buried in Wimbledon, London.

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Number 58

Site: Infirmary Road
Lance Corporal John Edwin L. G. Beattie, British Army

The execution of six members of the IRA in Victoria Barracks, Cork, on the morning of 28 February 1921 led to the IRA retaliating that evening by attacking off-duty British soldiers throughout the city.

Lance Corporal Beattie (aged 24), a soldier in the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, was mortally wounded on Infirmary Road, Cork, near the Blind Asylum (now the South Infirmary Hospital). He was first taken to the Victoria Hospital and then to the Military Hospital where he eventually died.

John Beattie was one of six children of John and Jessie Beattie. He was buried in Plymouth, England.

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Number 7

Site: St Finbarr’s Cemetery
William Sullivan or O’Sullivan, Civilian

On 12 February 1921 Volunteers from D Company of the 2nd Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade, took William O’Sullivan (aged 35) from a pub on Evergreen Street. He was then taken to the intersection of Tory Top Lane and the Curragh Road and was shot dead.

O’Sullivan had been seen leaving the RIC barracks at Empress Place, Cork, on several occasions after curfew and had been told that if he continued his association with the enemy, the consequences for him would be serious. He ignored these warnings, and the IRA decided to execute him.

A note attached to O’Sullivan’s body stated: ‘A convicted spy. Penalty death. Let all spies and traitors beware.’ His brother was a member of D Company.

An unemployed ex-soldier, Thomas O'Sullivan had served in the Royal Army Service Corps of the British Army. He was interred at St Joseph’s Cemetery, Ballyphehane, Cork. His name appears in the Compensation Commission Register with a note that £2,050 in compensation was awarded to his family.

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Number 3

Site: Shandon Street-Step Lane
Richard Moore or Morey, Civilian

Richard Morey (aged 15) was killed when he was struck by one of the shots fired by a military patrol during curfew hours in the Shandon Street area of Cork on 23 January 1921. The bullet hit the young boy’s heart and he died soon after admission to the North Infirmary.

The boy, with a half-dozen others, had been listening to music at about 8pm. When challenged by the patrol, Morey allegedly took no notice.

Richard Morey had lived with his mother Hannah Anne Morey (or Moore) and his four sisters at their house in 13 Step Lane, off Shandon Street.

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Number 35

Site: Dillon’s Cross
Cadet Spencer Rougier Chapman, Auxiliary Division, Royal Irish Constabulary

On the night of 11 December 1920, a six-man IRA squad made their way to a low wall at Dillon’s Cross, led by Captain Seán O’Donoghue.

At around 7pm, two trucks, loaded with approximately twenty-four Auxiliaries from K Coy, left Victoria Barracks in order to report to Union Quay RIC Barracks. As the Auxiliaries approached Dillon’s Cross, Volunteer Michael Kenny stepped out on the road to slow the convoy. At that moment two grenades were thrown at the trucks, injuring eleven men and mortally wounding Cadet Chapman (aged 28), who died the next day.

Later that evening, in an incident that became known as the ‘Burning of Cork’ several houses were burnt at Dillon’s Cross as a reprisal for the attack. A large part of the city centre, the City Hall and Carnegie Free Library were sacked and destroyed by fire.

Spencer Rougier Chapman had served in the First World War with the London Regiment of the Royal Fusiliers. He was married to Yvonne M. Cardon (the daughter of a French officer) with whom he had one child and lived in Essex.

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Number 14

Site: Cross Douglas Road-Douglas Road
Corporal Leonard Douglas Hodnett, British Army

On 28 February 1921, Leonard Hodnett (aged 20) of the Royal Army Service Corps, was shot dead on the South Douglas Road by the IRA who were seeking retaliation for the execution in Victoria Barracks of six of its members earlier in the day. In all, six unarmed soldiers were shot dead and ten more were wounded, including some who were walking with local girls in the city’s

Hodnett’s fiancée testified to the harrowing circumstances of his death. ‘He was then a few yards away, and I heard him ask the men if he could come and speak to me, and they let him do so. He told me to be brave and run home, as the men would not kill him. The assailants then took him, stood him in the gutter, and shot him.’

Leonard Hodnett died within an hour. Earlier in the evening, he had been urged by friends whose house he had been visiting to put on civilian clothes, but he had refused. He was the son of John Hodnett of Woolwich, London. He was buried at Cork Military Cemetery.

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Number 18

Site: Blackrock Road
William Mohally, Civilian

William Mohally (aged 27) was found unconscious on the afternoon of 19 February 1921 on the Lower Glanmire Road with bullet wounds to the head. He had been shot by the IRA and was taken to the South Infirmary in a serious condition. On Sunday 20 February, a unit of Volunteers took him from the hospital and shot him dead on the Blackrock Road. The Cork Examiner (23 March) reported: ‘There appeared to be no doubt that he was cruelly done to death because of his friendly associations with the police and military authorities’. His killers pushed into blankets covering his body a notice that read, ‘For a spy there is no escape, IRA.’

Mohally was a night watchman, a ship steward, and an ex-soldier. During the previous autumn, he had been badly injured in an attack when working as a night watchman for various shops in Kings Street (MacCurtain Street) and Bridge Street. He was the eldest child of four living children of Michael and Nano Mohally.

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Number 36

Site: Custom House Quay
Seaman Karl Johansen, Civilian

Karl Johansen (aged 25), was a Norwegian sailor on the S.S. Tonjar. He was found at approximately 4am on Custom House Quay on 1 December 1920. He was found to have a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Another civilian who was found with him had suffered severe injuries.

Earlier that evening, groups of armed and masked men were observed setting off fires in the city centre and it is suggested that Johansen might have come into contact with them. He died that evening at the South Infirmary, according to his death certificate.

Karl Johansen was a ship’s fireman and was unmarried.

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Number 33

Site: White Street
Sergeant James O’Donoghue, Royal Irish Constabulary

Sergeant James O’Donoghue (aged 46) was shot dead by the IRA on 17 November 1920 in White Street, a narrow and ill-lighted thoroughfare between George’s Quay and Douglas Street. He was said in one report to have been shot during an IRA raid on Lunham’s Bacon Curing Factory, Kemp Street.

A newspaper report stated that three men armed with revolvers had waylaid him after concealing themselves in a doorway along the dark street. They fired at close range and shot him through the head. According to Volunteer Leo Buckley, an intelligence officer with Cork No. 1 Brigade, they initially intended to kill someone else who failed to appear, and on their own initiative they decided to shoot Sergeant O’Donoghue, to the later fury of their superiors.

Attached to Tuckey Street RIC Barracks at that time, Sergeant O’Donoghue was in line for a promotion to Head Constable within a week or so. His remains were removed by motorcar on 19 November for interment in the family burial ground near Cahirciveen, County Kerry. Having served twenty-two years with the RIC, James O’Donoghue left a wife and four children.

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Number 28

Site: Collins Barracks
Edward Meade, Civilian

On 23 October 1920, Edward Meade (aged 44) was accidentally shot and wounded inside Victoria Barracks. As he was passing a lorry full of armed soldiers, one soldier’s rifle went off and a bullet struck him in the head.

The cause of death was said to have been an accidental gunshot wound causing injury to the brain and the spine. He died in the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Montenotte.

An ex-soldier who had participated in the Italian campaign during the First World War, Meade was employed in the Victoria Barracks as a clerk. He lived near Clarke’s Bridge in the centre of Cork city.

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Number 24

Site: Fisher Street
Maurice (Michael) Griffin, Civilian

At about 3pm, on 10 October 1920, the police and the military established a cordon in the centre of Cork city and then searched all pedestrians caught within it.

During this operation, Maurice Griffin (aged 49), a labourer, seems not to have heard an order to halt and continued his way down St. Patrick’s Street. Two shots were fired at him, one of which entered the right side of his back and passed through the abdomen. He died the next day at the South Infirmary of shock and haemorrhage. His death certificate indicates that he was shot on Fisher Street in Cork.

Griffin left a wife, Mary, and at least three children with three more having died in infancy

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Number 17

Site: Pouladuff
James Herlihy, Civilian

An ex-soldier, James Herlihy (aged 31) was arrested by the IRA on 20 August 1920 and executed two days later. He was taken into custody as an alleged spy by members of G Company of the 2nd Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade.

According to the Bureau of Military History witness statement of G Company member Patrick Collins, Herlihy was removed to the Pouladuff district south of the city, where he was executed by a firing squad from the company on instructions from the brigade.

In his Bureau of Military History Witness Statement, Patrick Collins said that ‘James Herlihy and some other civilians were known to our Intelligence Service to be in touch with the British military and to have supplied to them the names of prominent Volunteer members.’ The location of James Herlihy’s body was never disclosed or located.

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Number 6

Site: North Gate Bridge
James Burke or Bourke, Civilian

An ex-soldier, James Burke (aged 42) was killed in the early hours of 18 July 1920 at North Gate Bridge by members of a military patrol from the South Staffordshire Regiment.

Burke and his friends had been fighting with two off-duty soldiers. Police were breaking up the fight when a military patrol arrived on the scene and one of the soldiers then fired the shot that fatally wounded Burke. His injuries included a lacerated liver, a torn lung, and another gaping wound six or eight inches deep, possibly from a bayonet or other sharp instrument.

On the wall of a house close by which Burke lay before he was removed, some person wrote with his blood: ‘R.I.P. Killed by military of the Staffordshire Regt.’ In the funeral procession that followed Burke’s body to the cemetery at Curraghkippane on 20 July, nearly 5,000 ex-servicemen were said to have marched. The killing of Burke led to outbreaks of violence in Cork city. Hundreds of enraged former servicemen attacked and brawled with off-duty British soldiers throughout the city.

James Burke was unmarried and had worked as a labourer at the Eclipse Chemical Works on Blarney Street in Cork. He had served with the Royal Field Artillery during the First World War.

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Number 56

Site: Opposite St Finbarr’s Hospital
Constable William Carroll, Royal Irish Constabulary

William Carroll (aged 26) was killed in a traffic accident near the Cork Workhouse on the Douglas Road on 14 September 1920. Carroll and two other members of the Auxiliary police had commandeered a van belonging to the Cork Timber and Iron Company.

While speeding in the vehicle, Constable Carroll and the two policemen crashed into a telephone pole outside the workhouse. The driver, Constable Carroll, was killed and the two others were seriously injured.

William Carroll was a native of Galway.

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Dara McGrath’s work is based on research by Dr Andy Bielenberg (School of History, UCC) and Prof James Donnelly Junior (University of Wisconsin) who are currently engaged in an on-going project to document all the fatalities of the Irish revolution in Co. Cork between 1919 and 1923 of which approximately 840 have been identified so far. This exhibition is based on the War of Independence element of the project.

The exhibition is kindly supported by The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative and Cork Public Museum.

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Patrick Scott: meditations

2 October – 5 December

This year is the centenary of Patrick Scott (1921-2014), one of Ireland's most celebrated and individual abstract artists.

Scott, who was born in Kilbrittain, County Cork on 24 January 1921, had his first exhibition when he was aged just 23 and, early on, was associated with the White Stag Group and the Irish Exhibition of Living Art (IELA). His paintings from this period embraced a naïve style but, having spent fifteen years working as an architect, his later compositions often incorporated geometry and impeccable design.

Scott would only become a full-time artist in 1960, the year in which he represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale, and so this exhibition charts aspects of his career from that time onwards. Although ostensibly abstract, the works displayed in this exhibition range from the painterly landscape Under the Pier (c.1959) to Scott's nuclear protest 'Device' painting Diptych and his signature 'Gold Paintings' that reveal an interest in Zen Buddhism.

"At each new turn," art critic Dorothy Walker once noted, "he has shown us new discoveries, all within his orbit of strict abstraction." Artist and friend Brian O'Doherty goes further, considering that "Scott's landscapes tremble on the edge of non-recognition, and then go over. His circles – sun, cell, seed, blot – always elevated to the top half of the canvas over an horizon line, said that your associations are your own, but insisted that I am just a picture. As he went on to his mature gold and unprimed canvases, this insistence became as much part of the painting as the paint."

In presenting five works from the collection, this exhibition does not attempt a complete retrospective of Scott's oeuvre but rather offers meditations from five different decades of his long career.

Curated by Michael Waldron

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Edith Somerville: observations

2 October – 5 December

To mark the recent acquisition of an ink study for The Goose Girl (1888), a beloved painting by Edith Somerville, this exhibition draws together all seven of the artist’s works in the collection.

Born on the island of Corfu, Edith Anna Œnone Somerville (1858-1949) was an Irish writer, farmer, huntswoman, suffragist, and organist. Although she is best known for her writing partnership with cousin, Violet Martin (1862-1915) – Somerville & Ross – she was also a talented artist with keen skills of observation.

From the 1870s on, she studied in London – at South Kensington School of Art and Westminster School of Art – Düsseldorf, and Paris – at the Académie Colarossi and Académie Delécluse. She contributed to both Graphic and Lady's Pictorial as an illustrator and sketched during her travels in Ireland and Europe.

At home in the West Cork coastal village of Castletownshend, Somerville commissioned sculptor Séamus Murphy (1907-1975) to make a memorial bench and Harry Clarke (1889-1931) to create stained-glass windows for her parish church. She also designed a mosaic in memory of Violet Martin.

This exhibition offers a glimpse into Edith Somerville's world and the connections between her drawings, paintings, and writings. Sketches in artists’ studios, witty illustrations, and beautifully observed works in oils all contribute to our understanding of a woman who, though born into privilege, mastered many of the pursuits upon which she cast her roving eye.

Curated by Michael Waldron

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NEW THREADS: Acquisitions 2021

24 July – 5 September

New Threads showcases more than 20 artworks that have recently come into public ownership, made possible through major acquisitions funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. 

The exhibition’s title is inspired by one of the featured artworks, Ariadne’s Thread (2013) by Jennifer Trouton, which borrows from an Ancient Greek myth and suggests an escape from the fabled Labyrinth. The painting provides a curious entry point from which visitors may follow – or tease out – new threads of practice and meaning in the collection.

Visitors to New Threads will also encounter an intricate ceramic work, Teasel – Grey Area (2019), by Nuala O'Donovan. In nature, the Teasel plant has received its common name from the use of its dried flowerhead in the textile industry ‘to tease’ (or raise the nap on) woollen cloth.

Artworks in New Threads range from the inimitable humour of Stephen Brandes’ Chat Show (2020) to the geometric colour of Tom Climent’s Eden (2019) to the intricate sculptural forms of Evgeniya Martirosyan and Nuala O’Donovan. There is more sobering work on view too, including Rita Duffy’s political Guantanamo amas amat (2009) and Meditating Tongqui (2020) by Stephen Doyle. The exhibition also features several paintings and prints by artists working in supported studios, including Yvonne Condon and Brianna Hurley.

In total, 225 artworks by 39 contemporary artists have been added to Crawford Art Gallery’s collection in recent months, ranging from paintings, photographs, prints, and drawings, to sculptures, installations, digital film and sound works, textile and embroideries.

Featured artists include Stephen Brandes, Elaine Byrne, Tom Climent, Yvonne Condon, Elizabeth Cope, Gary Coyle, Stephen Doyle, Rita Duffy, Debbie Godsell, Brianna Hurley, John Keating, Fiona Kelly, Evgeniya Martirosyan, Rosaleen Moore, Íde Ní Shúilleabháin, Nuala O'Donovan, Tom O'Sullivan, and Charles Tyrrell.

Curated by Michael Waldron

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Laura Fitzgerald: I have made a place

18 June – 19 September 2021


This is a note from me, the exhibition, to you. I really missed you. Art of course continued to be made; in studios, bedrooms, and kitchens. Sometimes placed within digital landscapes, new territories of expansion and contraction… but there was no one to activate it or engage with it. No one to stroke an unframed drawing on a gallery wall, no finger to poke into the sides of what you think might be a sculpture. No scoffing in humour or disdain at an art video. You are very important.

I think the artist (Laura) wants to make art out of, and about, some of the ‘last things’ she sees: rolls of children’s paper from IKEA, giant pages of really expensive paper from John Purcell in London, metal from China that has gone up 30 percent since January – and the last bit of bog.

The artist is not nostalgic. NO! The show must go on. She has just made a place. Arranged some things to let you know about certain narratives that are on her mind. Stuff like: how to be with neighbours, how not to go too mad, how to lean against a wall. It’s all potentially a disaster. There is something very cathartic about the 'last things’.

Kind Regards, The Exhibition

Laura Fitzgerald: I have made a place is the third exhibition in Crawford Art Gallery’s artist-directed programme, which aims to platform the development of an artist’s career, support their current research interests, and connect with audiences through a collaboration with Crawford Art Gallery, its site, and collections. In this exhibition, Laura Fitzgerald creates a place – a smallholding – to examine ideas of art and art practice. In a time of scarcity and Brexit, the artist probes the difficult task of being an artist through drawings, sounds, a new video and a story that conjures a restless figure who is obsessed with cutting turf.

The exhibition comprises new large-scale scroll drawings, video works, and striking bale forms – sculptural and sound installations from which competing voices emerge and invite the visitor to listen, look, and perhaps have a bit of a laugh.

Laura Fitzgerald: I have made a place also features screenings of Into the Mire (2011) by Nigel Rolfe and is accompanied by a commissioned text by Sally O'Reilly. Join artists Laura Fitzgerald and John Strutton for a live talk that will take the form of a “crit” (critical review) of her work online at 1pm, Thursday 9 September 2021. This event is free, but booking is essential through Eventbtite.

The artist's limited edition risoprint companion publication, The Restless Bogman (2021), will also be available to purchase via the gallery shop and online during the exhibition's run.

Laura Fitzgerald is a visual artist working in drawing, painting, video, and text. A graduate of both the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and Royal College of Art, London, she was a recipient of the Visual Arts Bursary Award (Arts Council of Ireland) in 2020. She was also shortlisted for the Zurich Portrait Prize 2020 and recent exhibitions include participation in the 39th EVA International with Fantasy Farming (2020) at Limerick City Gallery of Art, the site-specific Cosmic Granny (2019) in Inch, Co. Kerry, and Lucian’s Neighbours (2018) at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. She recently received a Golden Fleece Award for 2021 to create a studio on her father’s land in Kerry. 

Read: Sally O'Reilly, A Departmental Report on the Place that Laura Fitzgerald Made (2021)

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Doug Fishbone: Please Gamble Responsibly

21 May - 29 August

Doug Fishbone is an internationally renowned artist who creates projects and exhibitions which unearth, question and examine societal misconceptions through humour and manipulation of context.

In his first solo exhibition in Ireland, commissioned by the Crawford Art Gallery, Fishbone creates a sculptural spectacle - mirroring the housing and rental market - and invites visitors to wander around his ‘ghost estate’. 

Replete with broken windows, boarded up balconies and surrounded with shabby corrugated fencing, it offers those that successfully enter - where the barrier is compromised - more than an abandoned half-built interior.  Resonating as a formal sculpture in its own right and capturing some the empty eeriness of the original Castle Lake complex—which serves as its inspiration—Fishbone’s structure offers an unexpected stage-set for a meditation on wider issues of economy and folly. 

'Please Gamble Responsibly' by Doug Fishbone - Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland - 2021 / Photograph Jed Niezgoda

Inside the building Fishbone’s short film is humorous and disquieting.   Described as a ’stand-up conceptual artist’, Fishbone's free-wheeling delivery comments on the topics of money and real estate - forces that drive the global economy but expose rental tenants and home owners to the perpetual systemic risk of disaster and potential homelessness. Fishbone examines how instability and collapse are coded into the very way contemporary money works - from the Nixon Shock (1971) to the comparable growth of the size of intensive farmed chickens to the ongoing corporate bailouts of today - and unmasks an economic system which is far dodgier than it seems. 

'Please Gamble Responsibly' by Doug Fishbone - Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland - 2021 / Photograph Jed Niezgoda

Based in film and performance work, Doug Fishbone’s practice is wide-ranging and has been described as a “stand-up conceptual artist.” Recent exhibitions and performances include: Jews, Money, Myth, Jewish Museum, London (2019); Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival (2019); No Thanks/Thanksgiving, Hauser and Wirth, Somerset (2018); European Media Art Platform, Werkleitz/Halle (2018); Writing Photographs Symposium, TATE Modern (2018); Yinka Shonibare’s Artist Dining Room, Royal Academy, London (2016); Boomin’ Bus Tours,  Look Again Festival, Aberdeen (2016); Made in China, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London (2015); and Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf,  56th Venice Biennale (2015).   

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Dara McGrath: For Those That Tell No Tales

24 April – 29 August 2021

Dara McGrath’s work explores transitional spaces, those in-between places where the landscape and the built environment often intersect, and where a dialogue – of absence rather than presence – is created. His practice is driven by overlooked human interruptions in urban, suburban and rural contexts.

'For Those That Tell No Tales' features over sixty works which focus on Ireland’s War of Independence: a defining moment in Ireland’s history. Between 1919 and 1921, approximately 1,400 people died in the struggle for an independent Irish republic. Cork city and county saw the bloodiest of the fighting – in total, 528 people (civilians, Irish Republican Army and British Forces) – lost their lives directly due to the conflict in Cork. 

Today – sadly and almost universally – we pass by unaware of the tragedies that took place at unmarked locations that are daily traversed. Beyond the recognised memorials and major landmarks there are many more sites within the landscape where people lost their lives. (In Cork City, those 'forgotten' lives lost may include the Norwegian sailor Carl Johansen whose life was ended by being shot in the back while returning to his ship in the Port of Cork docks; or Josephine Scannell who at nineteen years old was shot dead by a stray bullet while sitting near a window in her house in the city centre). 

McGrath’s photographs elevate these spaces as sites of memory for those individual lost lives. For the first time, through McGrath’s photography and accompanying texts, we can see the full extent of the lives of the people and the places where they perished during the struggle for freedom in Ireland’s War of Independence.  Dara McGrath’s acknowledgement of the place and circumstances of each individual’s death – which bore so heavily on their communities – still resonate, so powerfully, today.   

Click on the map to view a selection of the works:

Cork City map optimised

Click on the image below to be taken on a virtual tour of the exhibition.

Virtual tour

Dara McGrath’s work is based on research by Dr Andy Bielenberg (School of History, UCC) and Prof James Donnelly Junior (University of Wisconsin) who are currently engaged in an on-going project to document all the fatalities of the Irish revolution in Co. Cork between 1919 and 1923 of which approximately 840 have been identified so far. This exhibition is based on the War of Independence element of the project.

The exhibition is kindly supported by The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative and Cork Public Museum.

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Until 11 July

Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize are back!

Crawford Art Gallery is delighted to partner for a second year with the National Gallery of Ireland and Zurich Ireland in bringing these ever-popular exhibitions to Cork. The shortlisted works by 26 artists and 20 young artists will be exhibited at the National Gallery of Ireland until 21 March 2021, before transferring to Crawford Art Gallery on 16 April.

More details soon!

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Zurich Young Portrait Prize 2020

Until 11 July

Artists’ Film International | 2021

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STATIO BENE: Art and Ireland’s Maritime Haven

Until 23 May 2021

Cork has for centuries benefited from the natural maritime haven that is its harbour. Amongst the largest of its kind in the world, it has long been a porous site for settlement and migration, commerce, defence, and leisure, and holds deep cultural and economic relevance.

Fittingly presented in the Long Room of the city’s old Custom House, this exhibition is inspired by Cork’s motto, Statio Bene Fida Carinis, which translates as ‘a safe harbour for ships’.

Artworks have been selected from the collection that describe or address the maritime traditions of this significant port, an anchorage not only in naval and seafaring terms, but culturally and socially too.

Interspersed with captivating historic views of Cork Harbour, stories of fortification, people and prosperity, trade and smuggling, emigration and empire all emerge, from the seventeenth-century Dutch vessels of Willem Van de Velde (1611-1693) to Jamie Murphy’s striking print series marking the centenary of RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage.

Drawn from Crawford Art Gallery’s own extensive collection, the exhibition includes works by Sarah Grace Carr (1794-1837), George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson (1806-1884), Robert Lowe Stopford (1813-1898), Norah McGuinness (1901-1980), and David Lilburn, among others.

Curated by Dr Michael Waldron

Statio Bene Virtual Tour

Click on the image below to take a virtual tour of the exhibition.

Exhibition and associated programmes made possible with the support of:

O'Leary Insurance Group logo, Mainport Logo, Port of Cork logo

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Citizen Nowhere | Citizen Somewhere: The Imagined Nation

Until 5 April 2021

25 October 2020 is the centenary of the death of Terence MacSwiney (1879-1920), Lord Mayor of Cork, playwright, teacher and politician. Following his arrest on 12 August 1920 for being in possession of a police cipher, MacSwiney’s 74-day hunger strike gripped international press and political agendas

Citizen Nowhere | Citizen Somewhere: The Imagined Nation focuses on the international legacy of MacSwiney’s hunger strike and death, and the idea of nation as an imagined state to which his own essays, Principles of Freedom, aspired.

Terence MacSwiney’s hunger strike was set against the backdrop of the democratic concept of 'self-determination' advocated by President Woodrow Wilson (USA) towards the end of the First World War.  The international impact of MacSwiney’s plight placed his family at the forefront of an international propaganda campaign to advance the ideal of the independent Irish citizen.

The exhibition begins with an illustrated timeline displaying the local, national and international social and political crosscurrents in the lead up to and duration of MacSwiney’s hunger strike. His traumatic dedication to the Irish Republican cause gave rise to mass demonstrations in many cities across the world, including Barcelona, Buenos Aires, London and New York.  The exhibition provides an overview - which is by no means exhaustive - of some of the many individuals and countries which MacSwiney’s principles and legacy inspired and influenced to stand against the rule of empire and/or assert independence, including Bhagat Singh (India), Guo Morou (China) and Marcus Garvey (West Indies & United States of America).

Through the work of contemporary artists the exhibition considers the idea of nation and explores the complexities of being a citizen of nowhere, under direct rule or as a refugee, to being a citizen of somewhere after liberation or the hope of achieving citizenship. As Hammad Nassar[1] commented recently in Cork, ‘our current political discourse of citizen of nowhere and citizen of somewhere can be a poisonous and a troubling dichotomy’.

Featuring artworks by: 
Willie Doherty 
Rita Duffy
Öyvind Fahlström
Anthony Haughey 
Elaine Hoey 
Seán Keating 
Brian MacDomhnaill
Gustave Metzger 
Alban Muja 
Séamus Murphy
Li Qi and Liu Zemian 

For Learn & Explore talks and events go to: crawfordartgallery.ie

Citizen Nowhere | Citizen Somewhere: The Imagined Nation is kindly supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries initiative. 

Advent of the Inevitable (2019) by Rita Duffy is also featured in Complex States: Art in the Years of Brexit.

[1] Hammad Nassar (Senior Research Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre, London) Create National Networking Day, Keynote Lecture, 27 September 2019.

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Until 14 February 2021

In place of our annual Harry Clarke Watercolours exhibition, this year we have been busy creating a special online exhibition that explores the hidden details of the celebrated artist's work.

This will allow virtual visitors to see aspects of Clarke's work up close from the safety and comfort of their own homes, classrooms, and around the world. In some cases, for the first time visitors will encounter supplementary drawings, doodles, and annotations only found in the margins or on the reverse of his watercolour studies.

Enter the marvellous imagination of one of Ireland's most celebrated artists...

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Complex States: Art in the Years of Brexit

Until 31 March 2021

Crawford Art Gallery is a project partner of ARTinTRA’s Complex States: Art in the Years of Brexit with the artwork Advent of the Inevitable (2019) by Rita Duffy.  

On 31 December 2020, the process of Brexit will be concluded. This ends four years across which Brexit has continued to raise urgent questions concerning nationality, identity, fake news, social media and globalisation. Complex States is a visual arts project that platforms artists’ critical engagement with the events of Brexit. Curated by Vassiliki Tzanakou and Catherine Harrington, it features more than 35 emerging and established contemporary artists. Complex States aims to confront the urgent topics of Brexit in a more diverse way in order to heal divides, and build new bridges across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world while retaining existing cross-national bonds.

The venues and artworks in the project will be brought together on an online platform that features a cutting-edge, augmented reality experience using the latest in mixed realities technology. All the artworks in the show will be viewable on the online platform, and a selection of works will also be available to view offline at cultural centres, in outdoor spaces, etc. Participating venues and locations will show one artwork from among a selection of artworks that include video, painting, sculpture, posters, as well as site-specific installations.

Brexit has been defined as an inward-looking event, that divided communities and “closed borders” between nations. This project presents open narratives on Brexit, and traverses national and political borders to explore the complex states of individuals, artists, cultural practitioners and communities whilst they worked through the events of Brexit and its aftermath. As an historical reflection on artistic activities during the EU referendum campaigns, and as a window on contemporary artist responses to Brexit; the exhibition hopes to engage in dialogues concerning the role of artists, and cultural practitioners in areas of citizenship, public policy, and arts activism in response to significant political events.

In the project’s journey physically and virtually across the UK and the EU post-Brexit and in the midst of COVID-19, Complex States also hopes to help deepen existing UK-European connections and create solidarity in a time of division, isolation and alienation.

Advent of the Inevitable (2019) by Rita Duffy is featured in the exhibition Citizen Nowhere | Citizen Somewhere: The Imagined Nation.

To view works from other participating galleries please visit:
Press release
(App) Apple store
(App) Google play

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lucid abnormalities

1 July – March 2021

Thrust into a strange time of uncertainty, it is easy to feel on edge, to be unsure of how to behave or react, to have the impulse to escape or to be elsewhere. Moments of calm are held dear. Alone with our thoughts, the familiar might become alien, empathy may be coupled with suspicion, even anxiety. We relate to each other differently.

Forging new relationships and offering alternative contexts, this exhibition draws together familiar works from the collection by Margaret Clarke, Seán Keating, John Lavery, Daniel Maclise, Norah McGuinness, Edith Somerville, Mary Swanzy, and Jack B. Yeats, with lesser known works that are sometimes startling or troubling in mood or tone.

Even with more familiar works, rather than seeking a narrative or story in them we might instead consider other ways in which they speak to us. Somerville’s The Goose Girl (1888), for instance, could be understood as a reluctance to face reality or a rude awakening, Lavery’s The Red Rose (1923) as reflecting that which is longed for yet unattainable, and Keating’s Men of the South (1921-22) as static, taut symbolism in hard times.

Joining these are paintings by Cecily Brennan, Sylvia Cooke-Collis, William Crozier, Elizabeth Magill, Hughie O’Donoghue, and Patrick Scott; an early work in mixed media by Dorothy Cross is set alongside an expression of becoming by Alice Maher; Suzanna Chan challenges stereotypes of gender and ethnicity; and other works form unexpected pairings that may disrupt attempts at traditional narrative understanding.

The lucid abnormalities between or within the works displayed in our historic Gibson Galleries (Floor 1) present an invitation to retune, explore, and experience parts of the collection through a variety of means – aesthetic, material, thematic, or historic. In thinking outside of the normal narrative displays, sometimes new ideas and associations emerge and can bring us forward.

Some voices are loud, others more subtle, yet all have something to say.

Curated by Dr Michael Waldron

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Until Sunday 31 January 2021

Exhibiting in Cork for the first time, artist-filmmaker Kevin Gaffney premieres Expulsion.

Shot in part at Crawford Art Gallery, Expulsion is a 30 minute film written and directed by Kevin Gaffney.  The Film moves between a fictional Queer State, archival footage of queer activists, a guided meditation to expunge internalised homophobia/transphobia, and nocturnal rituals. As the ideals of queerness in the state are confronted with the respectability politics of homonormativity and capitalism, the viewer is asked to reconsider each characters’ motivations as they progress through ethically ambiguous scenes. ‘Expulsion’ incorporates archival footage of Joan Jett Blakk, the drag persona of Terence Smith, who ran for mayor of Chicago in 1991 and for president in the USA in 1992 on the ticket of the Queer Nation party.

Another 3 minute video work, Retelling: Dr. James Miranda Barry and John Joseph Danson, made in conjunction with Expulsion and filmed on location in the Crawford Art Gallery in response to the museum’s collection also premieres in the exhibition.

James Barry (1741 – 1806) was an artist born in Cork, the sale of some of his paintings supported the studies of James Barry’s nephew, Dr James Barry. Dr James Barry went on to become a surgeon and the fourth doctor to successfully accomplish a C-section with both the mother and child surviving. (Haefele-Thomas, 2019). About Dr James Barry, Kevin says: “He is written about as if he was a woman who masqueraded as a man in order to achieve an education and career that was not accessible for women at the time. However, being inaccurately hailed as “Britain’s first female physician” ignores his transgender identity. Instead, he was the first trans physician.”

The exhibition also features Far from the Reach of the Sun – a film set in a near-future where a government-approved drug can alter your sexuality; reflecting on links between gay conversion therapy, the role of organized religion in Western society and internalized homophobia and Dustingin which a monotonous domestic task, becomes the basis of a grotesque display of desire as the character licks years of dust and dirt off the windows of an abandoned building.

“As a natural storyteller, albeit with surreal leanings, Gaffney leaves the viewer with little sense of whether they are witnessing a dystopian or utopian view of the past, present or indeed the future.” Kathleen Soriano, in the exhibition text for Unseen by My Open Eye, 2017

More about the artist

Kevin Gaffney is an artist filmmaker based in Belfast. He graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2011 with an MA Photography and Moving Image, and was awarded the first Sky Academy Arts Scholarship for an Irish artist in 2015. His work is part of the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s collection and a monograph of his work, Unseen By My Open Eyes, was published in 2017. Expulsion was created as the practical component of Kevin’s PhD research project, Resisting Homonormativity in Queer Filmmaking Practice, in the cinematic arts department at Ulster University.

Kathleen Soriano, curator and broadcaster,  in conversation with Kevin Gaffney talk about the making of the work in the exhibition

Click here
to listen to Kathleen Soriano, curator and broadcaster, in conversation with Kevin Gaffney talk about the making of the work.

Summoning a queer state
A text by Karl Schoonover (August 2020) contextualises the exhibition. Karl Schoonover writes about art, film, and other moving images. He teaches at the University of Warwick (UK) where he is Professor of Film and Television Studies. His most recent book Queer Cinema in the World (Duke University Press) was co-authored with Rosalind Galt.
Click here to read the full essay.

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