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Saibhreas opening

Saibhreas opening, in association with the Laois Arthouse. Opening to be performed by Charles Flanagan TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Dunamaise Arts Centre

18th June 2015 at 7:30 pm

In a land that mourns the recent loss of material wealth, we sometimes have to stop and look at the richness that is all around us. Richness abounds in the Midlands and often it is free for us to enjoy; no money need change hands. Standing in the dusky evening as the light fades across the Slieve Blooms, monasticism ever present, castles, grand houses, burial sites, folklore, and hidden secrets beneath your feet as you walk the bogs and “the dark mutinous Shannon waves”.[i] In such moments it is difficult not to feel the rich pull of history and ancient culture and how it juxtaposes with the now, in the Midlands. Ghost estates, emigration, modern settlers, and orbital routes. Arteries pulsating with high speed traffic through the Midlands, often whirring over hidden gems.

The Dunamaise Arts Centre in situated in the old Maryborough Gaol which was attached to the Court House, designed by Richard Morrissson and built in 1782. Two facades designed by Morrisson still adorn the outside of the building. During the excavation works in preparation for the construction of the Dunamaise Arts Centre in 1997/98, eleven bodies were unearthed and it was suspected they died at the old gaol in the late 18th or early 19th century. They were given a Christian burial in the New Cemetery, Portlaoise two centuries after their death.

At the invitation of Muireann Chonaill; Arts Officer and Manager of the Laois Arthouse, artists associated with the Midlands have responded to the theme of Saibhreas, which means richness and abundance in Irish. Ranging from photography, print, painting and sculpture to film and audio, each artist has been influenced by people, surroundings and the life of the Midlands.

In this celebration of artistic creativity, the richness and abundance associated with the Midlands is highlighted. Saibhreas will be officially opened by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charles Flanagan, in the Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, on June 18th at 7:30pm.
[1] The Dead, James Joyce

The artists: Aisling Conroy; Brendon Deacy; Brian Redmond; Caroline Conway; Cathy Carman; Eileen McDonagh; Eoin Ó Conaill; Jerry Cahir; Jock Nichol; Ken Wardrop; Lisa Fingleton; Lorraine Walsh; Michael Boran; Niall Cahir; Nick Miller; Nuala Hayes; Pat Fitzpatrick; Ray Murphy; Rita Duffy; Ruth Barry; Sharon Murphy; Simon Burch; Stephen Loughman; Vera McEvoy and Wendy Wright.

Curator: Muireann Chonaill is Arts Officer in Laois County Council and Manager of the Laois Arthouse. She is a graduate of Arts Administration from UCD and has an MA in Visual Arts. She oversees the management of the Laois Arthouse in Stradbally. Last year she curated the Sitting residency by Nick Miller in the Laois Arthouse.

Thanks Laois County Council Arts Office for assistance. Special thanks to Wendy Wright for curatorial assistance in preparation of Saibhreas.

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