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Work of the Week | 14 March 2022

CAG.3176 Seán Keating, View of the Port of Cork, c.1960, oil on canvas, 82.5 x 96 cm. Presented, Port of Cork, 2021 (Port of Cork Collection). © Estate of Seán Keating, IVARO Dublin, 2022.


New to the collection, View of the Port of Cork (c.1960) by Seán Keating offers a rare, elevated perspective over the city and River Lee.

Depicted at Cork’s industrial height, brick chimney stacks are visible throughout, with Clontarf and Brian Boru railway bridges crossing the south and north channels of the river. In the right background, the hilltop suburbs of Churchfield and Gurranabraher appear to be under development, which may suggest an earlier date than c.1960.

Recognisable buildings such as the Provincial Bank of Ireland at 97 South Mall (middle left) and the steeple of St Anne’s Church, Shandon (middle right) can also be discerned. Of particular interest, however, are the former Bonded Warehouses and Cork Harbour Commissioners’ buildings – in which this painting once hung – at the centre of Keating’s view.

Turning attention to the river, the fabled vessel Innisfallen is berthed at Horgan’s Quay (bottom right). Constructed in 1948 by William Denny and Brothers Shipbuilders of Dumbarton, Scotland, this was the third ship to bear the name and a mainstay of mid-century Cork life. It was operated by B&I on the Irish Sea route between Cork, Fishguard, and Swansea until 1967. “Travel the Innisfallen Way” was a memorable slogan carried on associated advertising.

Curiously, the viewpoint selected by Keating is very similar to that found in a John Hinde Studios postcard, also dating to c.1960, by the photographer Edmund Nägele (b.1942).

View of the Port of Cork (c.1960) by Seán Keating is featured in The Port of Cork Collection until 28 August.

Tune in to The Arts House on Cork's 96FM and C103 Cork every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about a work from the collection!

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