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Work of the Week | 20 March 2023

CAG.2071 Frieda Meaney, Map: Rabach’s Glen, 2002, etching and carborundum on paper (4/15), 35 x 27.5 cm. Purchased, 2003. © the artist.

As today is World Storytelling Day, our WORK OF THE WEEK comes with a tale attached!

Map: Rabach’s Glen (2002) by Frieda Meaney draws together landscape, history, and folklore in sepia tones.

Offering an aerial perspective on a remote combe (short valley or hollow) in the Caha Mountains, this print is saturated or heavy with history. Its brownish colouration suggests age, vintage photography, the Beara locale, and perhaps even something blood-soaked?

The location of the title, Rabach’s Glen, is the site of deserted pre-Famine cabins and is named for Cornelius “An Rabach” O’Sullivan. An Rabach – which may mean the bold, the dashing, or the reckless – committed two murders there: a mariner sometime after 1800 and his neighbour, Máire Caoch, in 1814. He evaded detection and capture until 1831 when he was tried and hanged at Tralee Gaol.

The landscape is now part of a walking trail – Rabach’s Way – on the Cork-Kerry border, not far from the Healy Pass, and which might remind us of the opening lyrics to “Whiskey in the Jar” by Thin Lizzy: ‘As I was goin' over the Cork and Kerry mountains…’

Originally from Raheny, Dublin, Frieda Meaney (b.1953) is a multimedia artist working from her studio on the Beara Peninsula and at Cork Printmakers. She is interested in concepts of climate change, transformation, evolution, and extinction. Reflecting on her practice, Peter Murray has noted that ‘memory, imagination and actuality gently intersect and overlap, creating works resonant with feeling and empathy.’

Map: Rabach’s Glen (2002) by Frieda Meaney is featured in RADHARC: Perspectives in Print until 21 May.

The Arts House: Conor Tallon chats with curator Michael Waldron about a work from the Collection every Sunday morning on Cork’s 96FM and C103 Cork.

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