Page 1

RIVER work(s)

itinerarie(s) pattern(s) temporalitie(s) deposition(s) materialitie(s)

Christine MaCkey

‘It is not an attempt to produce anything new but rather to relate what is already present, but concealed’1

1 Deborah J. Hayes, ‘Bakhtin and the Visual Arts’, Cambridge University Press (1995), p.11.



Christine Mackey Co-editor

River Mark(s)

Cliodhna Shaffery

Stream ordering


through time

Carton LeVert

and space



Published by Ignition Press

River Cite(s)

Distributed by

Introducing Cleaveragh

Ignition Press and Sligo Borough and

– traversing

County Council.


Photo Archive Credits


The Caheny Family Sean O’Reilly Mary Mullen

River Sketche(s)

Maria Stewart

Re-tracing the foot-steps of

The RIVERwork(s) project was realised with Sligo Local Authorities. This

Miss Owenson

publication and the exhibition was


made possible by funding and support from Sligo Arts Services, The Arts Council and The Sligo Art Gallery.

River Pattern(s)

© Christine Mackey 2008. All rights

A users guide – from

reserved. No parts of this publication

the birds to the fishes

may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval


system of any nature, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise,

River Tone(s)

without prior written permission of the

A botanical survey at

artist, application for which should be

Doorly Park

addressed to the publisher.

XX River Note(s) Re-claiming the Gate Lodge at Doorly Park XX

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RIVERwork(s) This book and exhibition is a reflection of three related activities that engaged

In 200 Christine Mackey was commissioned by Sligo Borough Council

with a specific landscape and an

to explore the landscape and history of Doorly Park, the Garavogue

eclectic range of individuals both

river and its environs from an artist’s perspective.

living and dead. To walk, to talk and to draw are experiences that generate different kinds of knowledge of place

Her explorations on foot took her from the harbour, up river to Lough

and hidden histories. The bringing

Gill photographing, filming, drawing and finding out things by talking

together of these varied responses

to local people, be they walkers, residents or fishermen. She spent

strives for an oblique synthesis of

much time too in libraries, Sligo County reference library, Dublin

associated narratives and ecological

libraries and the Royal Irish Academy researching historical sources,

processes in the mapping of an

place names and maps.

alternative palimpsest of Sligo.

The language of geography and how it describes the formation of

Biographical note

rivers was also a subject of research, which led to new drawings and

Christine Mackey was born in Co. Kilkenny and lives in North Leitrim.

mappings. Christine made contact with many experts, specialists,

She is engaged with site-specific

public officials and local record keepers collecting a huge amount

practice(s) grounded in the geography

of information on an array of subjects, but all still related to the

of place and the re-orientation of

significance of the Garavogue, Lough Gill and the wider landscape.

the artist as traveler, researcher and note-taker initiating a new role

This exploratory process, taking many directions, was grounded

as ‘social cartographer’. Her work

by Christine’s presence and connection with people through her

explores the variable manifestations

occupation of an abandoned Gate Lodge in Doorly Park, where

of ‘drawing’ and ‘mapping’ as a visual mode of enquiry, mediating

she set up studio for three months and her regular website diary

between information and place,

of discoveries.

situated knowledge and community practice. She is currently pursuing a

Meticulous research has led to this record of an area that is an

practice-based PhD at the University of

invaluable resource for the city. RIVERwork(s) is presented here in the

Ulster, Belfast.

form of an artist’s book and exhibition as a unique anthology of this place both here and now and times past.


RIVERwork(s) is part of Unravelling Developments, a series of public art commissions by Sligo Local Authorities. The commission was funded by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government Per Cent for Art Scheme, with additional support from The Arts Council of Ireland and The Sligo XX / 

Art Gallery.

RIVER mark(s) Stream ordering through time and space

Biotic view

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Stream ordering

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The Reed Bed 1



And then comes the moment

And this is when

When returning home

they truly exist,

So it is with the reeds. I pass them daily but the minute I’ve gone by

I turn perchance their way

when you come

and there they are,

upon them

the familiars I lost

at the last moment

that morning,

and the eye

sifting, by the dark tree

suddenly catches them

that marks the edge

nodding in their bed

of their watery bed,

of cinnamon,

a tossed acre of amber reeds

getting ready


in a flurry of whispering

frail, summoning.

to leave you again.

and the rustling stops somewhere behind me among the floating trees, they no longer exist, and then I start wondering what is it I lost, what was that thing, that important thing, I left behind me on the dreaming road?

Dermot Healy was born in Finea Co Westmeath, and lives in Ballyconnel West, Sligo. He is a poet, playwright, short story and fiction writer. He is the editor of Force 10, which has been recently resurrected and is a member of Áosdana. Publications include: ‘The Ballyconnell Colours’, ‘What the Hammer’, ‘A Goat’s Song’, ‘Sudden Times’, and ‘The Bend for Home’.

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In waiting

‘I am suggesting that what is hidden from us is not something

1 Tim Robinson, ‘Setting

of her research methodology as ‘bricolage’; that is, ‘constructing your

rare and occult, or even augustly sacred, but, too often, the

Foot on the Shores of Connemara and Other Writings’, Dublin, Lilliput Press, 1996, p164.

method as you go along to suit the needs of the material and the

earth we stand on.’


The ground beneath the feet is meaningful in diverse ways.

2 Luke Gibbons, Space,

Fundamentally, the physical nature of place affects movement over

Place and Public Art: Sligo and its surround­ ings’, pp15­28 in Liam Kelly and Mary McDonagh (eds.) ‘Placing Art: a Colloquium on Public Art in Rural, Coastal and Small Urban Environ­ ments’, Sligo, Sligo County Council and Sligo Borough Council, 2002.

and around it and helps to shape the way humans live within it. Its contours and features also come to be associated with complex individual and collective histories, which linger in memory, folklore, place names and archives. ‘Place’ as a concept, as well as a geographical site, signifies powerfully, and is integral to concepts of belonging and identity; indeed, Irish landscapes have assumed a central role in determining Irish identity, sometimes in an excluding and limited sense. In Ireland and elsewhere, at a local level, place is vulnerable to being represented as changeless and homogeneous in an

3 Linda Nochlin,

attempt to secure its meaning for certain of its inhabitants in periods

‘Representing Women’, London, Thames and Hudson, 1999, pp10 and 16.

of painful transition; however, examining place at a local level also facilitates the uncovering of its true richness and multiplicity, and thus broadens its import. As a visual artist, Christine Mackey was asked to explore something of the varied history, human and natural, of Doorly

4 See, for example, Anne

Park, Cleaveragh and the Garavogue River in Sligo, and has distilled the resulting many-layered process into this publication. Luke Gibbons

Bryonie Reid is a

suggests that public art, at its best, is a means of looking at its subject

researcher in cultural

obliquely, offering fresh perspectives and resurrecting neglected

geography at the University

ones; public art which addresses a particular place, therefore, may

of Ulster, with a BA(Hons)

point to a wealth of all but invisible narratives enshrined in its

in Fine and Applied Art,

topography, creating space for existing and emerging difference and

an MA in Histories and

recognising the difficulty, necessity and value of change.

Cultures and a PhD entitled


‘Labouring Towards the

This, I suggest, is what Mackey does in RIVERwork(s), which I read as

Space to Belong: Imagining

critical mapmaking. Alluded to in the title of the piece, the Garavogue

Place in Northern Ireland’.

River provides a thread of continuity in terms of imagery and a

Her research interests

substantive connection between Lough Gill, Cleaveragh Demesne,

include the relationship

Sligo town and Sligo Bay. As well, the notion of river and riverbank,

of place to identity and

particularly in a tidal context, is richly resonant of fluidity and

senses of belonging and

exchange, constituting from the outset a refusal of the authoritative

the imagining of place in

or totalising cartographic view. This mapping practice is sensitive,

visual art.

exploratory and provisional, and echoes Linda Nochlin’s description

McClintock, ‘Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest’, London and New York, Routledge, 1995, and Mercedes Camino, ‘(Un)folding the Map of Early Modern Ireland: Spenser, Moryson, Bartlett and Ortelius’, pp123­159 in Cartographica, vol. 34, no.4, 1997. 5 Kathy Prendergast’s

work with maps includes her series of city streets, ‘City Drawings’,

evolving argument’, and eventually presenting collected glimpses, rather than a polished summation, of the subject at hand.3 Maps are never simply factual visual representations of the entirety of the space to which they refer, although they might pretend to this objective position; much has been written of the contribution of mapmaking to imperial and colonial enterprise, not least in Ireland.4 However, this does not mean that maps are irretrievably tainted as methods of representing place, as has been shown by the proliferating use of alternative cartographies by artists, communities and activists, and RIVERwork(s) constitutes a map which fully acknowledges – indeed, derives much value from – its faceted, subjective and imaginative nature.5 This methodology guards against the risk of purporting to offer a total picture of Doorly Park and Cleaveragh, and leaves the finished work satisfyingly open-ended. I turn to two aspects of Mackey’s mapping process, which act for me as lenses, clarifying the strength of the work as a whole. During her occupation of Cleaveragh Demesne’s long-abandoned gate lodge, the artist collected a number of cobwebs found in the property, capturing them in sticky plastic, which she then affixed to paper. From a distance, the stretched and striated cobwebs appear to be delicately and densely drawn maps, and may be imagined to literally depict fragments of coastlines, estuaries or contoured ground. In other places, the webs trace ramified and entangled lines in straggling outcrops, evoking a more abstract geography, as plausibly microscopic as cosmic in scale. With neither text nor distinguishable symbolism nor colour coding, these ‘maps’ seem generalised and anonymous, though exquisite in appearance. In fact, on closer examination they prove to map something more precise and more interesting. Cobwebs, in human terms, are fragile and ephemeral, decaying and changing through time, but here are presented to the gaze in an artificially arrested and pressed condition. Their transient nature is held in tension with the cartographic function they now perform, mapping themselves and therefore aspects of the space in which they had hung. In the fabric of

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each web is caught some detritus which speaks of the physical makeup

of this room through time, including specks of dirt, dust, insect wings and flakes of paint, giving the images a tenderly particular air; the comings and goings of specific creatures in the room are obliquely documented through what they have left behind, and the long human absence there is attested to by the very presence of the cobwebs. In this way the cobweb maps witness to the shifting phases of this tiny space, evoking its complex human and environmental histories and describing it without sentiment as a site of fullness and loss, growth and decay. Their fragility, detail, minutely localised nature and ability to refer to the transformation of space through time render them an effective cartographic foil to the grander scale, ordered symbolism and nod to posterity of the published maps Mackey includes in her collected material. The other element of RIVERwork(s) I wish to discuss here is the Miss Owenson dress. Otherwise known as Lady Sydney Morgan, Miss Owenson made a journey through Sligo in 10 which she described in a travel narrative published as Patriotic Sketches of Ireland (Volumes I and II). In response to her reading of this text, and her interest in the person and character of Miss Owenson, Mackey had a dress made, in early eighteenth-century style, of paper which she had taken to Cleaveragh Demesne and used as the ground for tracings and rubbings of the ruined remains of buildings there. The images arising from this process, which include the inscribing of the paper’s surface, its shaping into a garment, and the wearing of the garment by Mackey, like the cobweb images, all enrich and expand the cartographic character of RIVERworks. In this set of photographs, the body, and particularly the female body, is given an integral role in Mackey’s understanding and representation of Cleveragh Demesne. Three female bodies are referred to and overlapped; Miss Owenson, the artist, and the dressmaker.

begun in 1992, and her map of the USA, ‘Lost’, 1999; Common Ground, an organisation which fosters links between arts practice and environmental issues, has instituted community mapping workshops across Britain, culminating in the Parish Maps series (www.

for human-scaled obstacles such as overgrown ruins, fences, hedges, boundary walls and stony or sodden ground, nor the informal and instinctive accommodations made by the body in response to these. By contrast, the artist’s body is integral to her dress map; the fleshly body to whose contours the dress is cut and whose absence and presence it simultaneously suggests, shapes and inflects how the nuanced textures traced from the ruined Wood-Martin house in Cleaveragh might be viewed, and in turn, this body/dress is marked with the handmade tracings in a process of mutual inscription. And last, the inclusion of the dressmaker’s hands both connects her body to those of the other women and points to the collaborative nature of this element and of the RIVERwork(s) project as a whole; Mackey consistently makes space

6 For an analysis of

this discourse in relation to the plantation of Ireland, see Sabina Sharkey, ‘Ireland and the Iconography of Rape: Colonization, Constraint and Gender’, London, University of North London Press, 1994.

for other voices, pays attention to other bodies and ultimately presents a multifaceted portrait of a place in which the thoughts, behaviours and practices of various plants, animals and people are gathered and valued. Rather than align herself with the figure of the anonymous and putatively objective cartographer, through the dress in particular, Mackey inserts herself within her work as a subjective and embodied participant. Historian Brian Turner mourns ‘the increasing gracelessness with which

7 Brian Turner, ‘Introduction’, pp5­7 in Brian Turner (ed.) The Heart’s Townland: Marking Boundaries in Ulster, Downpatrick, Ulster Local History Trust in association with Cavan­Monaghan Rural Development Co­ operative Society, 2004, p5 and p7.

we treat our surroundings’, and proposes that attention to the details of place and place-based identities at a local level is one means of cultivating that ‘cultural self-confidence’ and understanding which will enable us to care appropriately for our environment.7 RIVERwork(s) documents two years’ exploration of Doorly Park, Cleaveragh, the Garavogue River, Lough Gill and Sligo town, and Mackey’s sensitivity to the ever evolving character of the place, arising from the intricate networks of plant, animal and human communities which combine variously across space and through time, is evident in each part of

Historically, women have been imagined alongside landscapes as

the project. Acknowledging continuity in the landscape through the

passively awaiting taming and fulfilment by men, who ‘husband’

juxtaposition of historical and contemporary texts and images, Mackey

both; Mackey disrupts this narrative by including Miss Owenson’s

also reflects on the inevitable changes wrought by modernisation and

distinctive voice, which energetically describes and interprets those

industrial growth. She avoids a didactic approach, but her steady gaze

landscapes of north Sligo through which she moved, and by making

takes in the good, the bad and the ambiguous in Cleaveragh’s past and

explicit her own body’s agency in mapping Cleaveragh. The physical

present, and offers her audience a contemplative space in which to


consider what comes next in the locality’s unfolding story.

experience of crossing terrain tends to be subsumed in conventional maps, whose distant gaze and smooth symbolism can account neither

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Land-works: Cleaveragh

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p A reconnaissance of web-marks inside Doorly Lodge

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ii Where will picture captions be used? i I imagine they will be short and sweet? g Where will picture captions be used? I imagine they will be short and sweet? fdsapooi

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cite(s) RIVER

Introducing Cleaveragh — traversing home-ground

‘Itisnotofthewickednessofmankind’,saysHelvetius,‘thatwe oughttocomplain;butoftheignoranceoflegislators,whohave alwayssetprivateatvariancewithpublicinterests’.1

1 Source: Miss Owenson, ‘Patriotic Sketches of Ireland Vol. 1’ p.33. Claude Adrien Helvetius (1715-1771), French philosopher and host to the Enlightenment group of French thinkers known as Encyclopedists, who concerned themselves with materialism and skeptical critiques of tradition, religion, and society. Helvetius thesis was premised on how societal formations can determine knowledge through political and social positioning and self-interest.

Re-drawing of the c.1872 estate map of Cleaveragh

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Wood-Martin’s house

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1 Colonel William Gregory

Wood-Martin (1847-1917), ‘History of Sligo, County and Town’, (Dublin, 1882, 1889, 1892). 2 The term ‘demensne’


Colonel William Gregory Wood-Martin (187-1917) a keen antiquary, conducted studies of ancient dwellings and customs throughout Ireland and Europe. He lived at Cleaveragh Demesne2 the grounds on which Doorly Park is sited – a reclaimed wetland . In 1880, he 3

published his first work, Sligo and the Enniskilliners, followed in 1882 by the first trilogy on the History of Sligo, County and Town. WoodMartin joined the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland, based in Kilkenny as a fellow and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He was editor for three years, while continuing to write and publish a number of books including; The Island of Innismurray collaborating with the artist William F. Wakeman, and The Rude Stone Monuments of Sligo. He drew from archaeology, history, geology and folklore to arrive at an notion of the past whilst positioning himself as custodian of the landscape, skilled through practical ‘spade knowledge’, in-depth fieldwork, ‘delving’ in to the past and writing in great detail about the value of Irish monuments, its inhabitants and land4.

or ‘demaine’ is Norman French in origin and denotes a portion of land farmed by the landlord incorporating woodland, farmland, garden and ornamental grounds as well as a range of buildings. The concept of ‘demesne’ survived in Ireland until the early twentieth century and once occupied over 5 per cent of the country. ‘The Natural History of Demesnes’, by Terence Reeves-Smyth, p. 549572. Ed. John Wilson Foster, ‘Nature in Ireland – A Scientific and Cultural History’, The Lilliput Press, Dublin (1997).

treaty. This is the Ramsar Convention (The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat), adopted in 1971 (RCB 2001b).” Marinus L.Otte, ‘Wetlands of Ireland’, University College Dublin Press (2003). John S. Dryzek, ‘The Politics of the Earth’, Oxford University Press (1997). 4 Aideen M. Ireland,

‘Colonel William Gregory Wood-Martin Antiquary’, The Journal Of Irish Archaeology (X. 2001).

Memory Tour A walk with Richard Wood-Martin, grandson of William Gregory Wood-Martin,through the grounds of Cleaveragh Demesne, C.M: These stones – these would have been the original stones of the house? R.W-M: I imagine they must have been, they must have bulldozed the lot. C.M: What would have stood here then? R.W-M: I am trying to work this out now…the out buildings were immediately behind the house…these ones…there’s no driveway leading into the house anymore… C.M: There’s a road going down there…where does that lead? R.W-M: You could walk down that road which led to the farmyard. C.M: I was curious about the buildings down there – were they part of the estate? R.W-M: Yes, the farm was mainly grazing – cattle grazing. C.M: This archway suggests an entry point into the main house?

3 Wetlands were

R.W-M: Ah yes, a doorway in from here to there.

originally called swamps, areas of drained marshy land. There are now recognised as valuable habitats for wildlife, the stabilization of ecosystems, and absorption of pollutants. They represent a unique cultural and natural heritage site(s). “They are the only ecosystem-type to be the subject of a global intergovernmental

C.M: When was the house sold? R.W-M: I think in 198. The outbuildings were immediately behind the house, you entered the house through the main hallway. The sitting room was on this side, on the right, and the dining room was on the left. Then there was a passage way which led down behind the dining room and ran into the bedrooms on the lower floor and there was a stairway which led to the bedrooms above. Going back to the hallway – the hallway led straight into the kitchen area here. The sitting room had another room off it – which I think was called the ‘morning room’, or the ‘library’, that about extinguishes my memory of the house. XX / 12

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Cleaveragh Demesne – ruins of the Wood-Martin home

Field dig: collection of found objects

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Where will picture captions be used?


Where will picture captions be used? I imagine they will be short and sweet?

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Site-work: Cleaveragh orchard

Seed notes – collected and interspersed with extinct

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varieties sourced from historical botanical catalogues

Response drawing inspired by Robert Lloyd Praeger’s topographical division of Ireland (Sligo)

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‘Thedeadsurroundtheliving.Thelivingarethecoreofthedead.Inthiscorearethe dimensionsoftimeandspace.Whatsurroundsthecoreistimelessness’1

1 John Berger from Twelve Theses on the Economy of the Dead, paragraph 1, ‘Pages of the Wound – Poems Drawing Photographs 1956-96’, Bloomsbury Circle Press (1996).

0 botanical divisions (Ireland)

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The following text is a transcription of a conversation with Sam Moore at Abbey

river in to South Connaught. This is an important fording point

Quarter North (Garavogue Villas).

in pre-history.

C.M: Sam, what is the significance of this monument here at

C.M: Was the crossing point always here at Buckley’s Ford?

Abbeyquarter, and why is it situated on top of this hill overlooking the river Garavogue?

S.M: Probably not. Fording systems change. The crossing point may have been up near the Town Hall where the original medieval castle

S.M: Ok, the reason why, I think (and a couple of other people believe),

was. But in pre-history it was believed to be down at Abbey Quarter.

this monument at Abbeyquarter is located here, is because of the river. This is the narrowest point on the river Garavogue, both historically

C.M: Are there other reasons why you think this was a major crossing

and pre-historically. It goes from nearly 200 meters wide across

point and route-way through Connaught?

just here to about 2 meters across there. You can see how wide the river is coming out of Lough Gill and narrows in to relatively slow

S.M: The other reason is because of this monument behind us. What

moving water.

we have is slightly flat land to the east here, curving around this hill and then when you cross the ford the first thing you are going to see

C.M: What is the name of this point on the river that we are looking at?

(take away all these houses) is this monument on the top of the hill. Let’s take a walk up to the top and have a look at the monument

S.M: In the late 19th century and up to the 20th century, it was called

from there.

‘Buckley’s Ford’, a crossing point over the river, and both WoodMartin and John McTernan talk about it in their books and I think it is mentioned in Kilgannon’s book. In pre-history the river would have

Sam Moore is an

gone up to the ‘Waste-Gardens’, now called ‘West Gardens’.

archaeologist currently

So we are now in Garavogue Villas. It is very difficult to work out the original ground level because of the housing estate, but you can see the ground is sloping down and the highest point on this little ridge is

based in Dromahair in

C.M: Where is that? S.M: It is in Sligo town. It was a rubbish dump for Sligo back in the medieval-post medieval times. C.M: Has the shape and course of the river changed much over time?

where these boulders are situated.

Co. Leitrim. He has lived and worked in Co. Sligo for 12

C.M: Are all these stones part of this monument?

years and is very familiar with the region’s landscape and its archaeology.

S.M: No, there is an obvious difference in the limestone rocks

He is currently pursuing

supposedly put there to protect the monument from traffic driving

a PhD in Archaeology at

on to the roundabout and the gneiss boulders that are part of the

NUI Galway on the


S.M: Yes, the river would have been much wider in pre-history, than

prehistoric landscapes

it is today. It has been narrowed, and all kinds of different additions

of Carrowkeel and its

added from the medieval period up to the modern day. So, because

environs. He has written

the river has altered, and the narrowest point in pre-history based on

and contributed to a

S.M: These are glacial erratics brought over from the Ox Mountain

the shape of the land and the width of the river is here at Buckley’s

considerable number of

during the last glaciation and deposited in the landscape. They were

Ford, myself and a number of other people have commented that this

local history articles,

then picked up and moved to make this monument.

would have been a major route way from North Connaught across the

books and guides.

C.M: What exactly are they?

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C.M: Do these rocks share a similar time frame to Carrowmore?2 S.M: Yes, both this and the Carrowmore monuments are dated approximately 000 BC. So imagine, this monument is dating right back to the very beginning of farming. This is one of the first types of megaliths built in Ireland.

2 Carrowmore (Ceathrú

Mór), a Celtic name meaning ‘Great Quarter’, a megalithic cemetery in the Knocknarea Peninsula, in County Sligo. 3 “At a short distance

C.M: Are there specific dates on record for this monument? S.M: No, there are no dates for this monument, but it is believed that this is identical to a number of monuments in Carrowmore. Morphologically these are the same rocks used in Carrowmore. C.M: Has it ever been excavated? S.M: Yes, by Wood-Martin.3 C.M: Has he written about it in any of his books? S.M: Yes, in the ‘Rude Stone Monument’s of Sligo’, and there is a drawing by Wakeman.4 C.M: I have it here with me. Can you take a look as I want to establish from what angle Wakeman would have drawn this monument? S.M: I did try once but it is not easy. C.M: Well, if you couldn’t do it then, I am not sure I could. I have a copy of the Cleaveragh estate map with me also. S.M: Is this monument marked on it? C.M: No. S.M: Let’s walk around it.

from Carns Hill, townland of Abbeyquarters, and within the bounds of the borough of Sligo, there is a stone circle, situated on a rising ground, about fifty yards from the southern bank of the river Garavogue, and close to the walls of the county prison. Strange to find a pagan burial-place in such a position, within hearing of the hum of the now busy town, and the constant shriek of the steam-whistle that obtrusively remind us of the present, and of the thousand years that have probably elapsed since the human remains we were disinterring had been deposited here in the calm solitude of a primitive landscape. The circle of boulders is nearly perfect, forming a ring on a raised mound 65 feet in diameter; the inside surface is perfectly level. On the north there are two stones seemingly the remains of an inner circle; in

the same direction, but on the exterior of the circle, there are three large boulders, which have been rolled out of their place. Of the cist or cromleac only two stones remain, one of these being of the usual dimensions; the other is a mere slab.” Col. WoodMartin, ‘Rude Stone Monuments of Co. Sligo’, Reprint from Jr.R.S.A.I. (1885-86).

C.M: See, what we are looking for is this higher stone and I think it is

4 The inscription on the

in the stones?

drawing reads; “Stone circle at about half a mile from Sligo, on the road to Cleaveragh. 30 stones above ground. Diameter 27 paces. Drawn for Colonel Cooper, by W.T. Wakeman, 23rd September – 1882.” William F. Wakeman, (1882-1900) b. Enniskillen. He was a draftsman and advisor to Wood-Martin and the collaboration between the Wood-Martin family and the Wakeman family dates back to 1883.

possibly this one because it’s so distinct from the others. S.M: It’s difficult to work out, because some people believe that this monument has been altered. C.M: When would the stones have been moved around? S.M: This may have happened during the Iron Age. When excavated, archaeologists could tell that a number of stones had been moved out from the original circle to make this entrance point. The presumption is that if you come up on the ridge by crossing the ford, it’s very difficult to tell, but this is potentially an original entrance. Can you see the gap

C.M: Would this have been built up much higher? S.M: Probably not. You can see up here inside the boulders that we are higher then the original ground level. We are up on an artificial platform that has been scarped. They have levelled this off, placed the stones in a circle and made this mound. This is a huge monument about 23 meters in diameter. You nearly have a complete circle, though some of the stones have slipped out and some are in-situ. There are  boulders. Bergh estimates that there was a total of 55 boulders in the original circle. C.M: This stone in the middle of the inside circle, would this always have been here, or what is it exactly? S.M: The stone in the middle of the inside circle is the remains of a dolmen shifted from its original position. You can tell. C.M: How? S.M: If you look at the bottom of the stone it is much darker in colour. This indicates that the stone has been lifted out of the ground from its

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original position. This was buried much deeper then it is today. You

5 The Marion Year was

7 “Maeve’s Cairn

that way. So you would go past Dunne’s stores, continue on to the

have a shadow on the stone, which indicates the ground level at which


Courthouse, up to the Lungy.

it was buried.

6 He found cremated and

(Miosgan Maedhbha) on top of Knocknarae overlooking the large cemetery-cluster of Carrowmore. Although it has not been excavated, we can only surmise that Maeve’s Cairn is a passage tomb.” Frank Mitchell & Michael Ryan, Reading the Irish Landscape, Town House Dublin (1996), p.172. 8 Listoghil, (Tomb 51

So that’s on the same ridge. You walk on past the Cathedral, between

according to George Petrie’s 1837 survey), from the Four Masters ‘Lois Tuathail’. The position of Tomb 51, in the centre of the cemetery and its unusual features give it a significant, focal role. The huge cairn, still partially present (diameter 32m), is in sharp contrast to all of the other monuments at Carrowmore, which had no covering mounds. The burial chamber, a rectangular cist under a flat, limestone roof slab, is unique. Circular carvings on the front side of the roof slab are the first examples of megalithic art found in this cemetery. www.

the Bishop’s Palace and the Cathedral. You are actually on the same

C.M: When do you think the dolmen was shifted? S.M: It was probably moved when the crucifix was erected before the Marion year (1950).5 C.M: Would the dolmen have been complete? S.M: Yes at one time and we know from Wakeman’s drawings and Wood-Martin’s description that there were more stones. C.M: Can you see it in the Wakeman drawing that I have here? S.M: No, you can’t see it in this drawing, but if you look at WoodMartin’s book there are more drawings of this circle and a plan of the actual circle. C.M: What did Wood-Martin find when he excavated here? S.M: He dug in the chamber, and found charcoal - burnt human remains, and various bits and pieces. I have a list of the find, which I can email you.


C.M: That would be great, thanks. Could you describe the surrounding landscape in relation to this monument? Are there any other significant tombs near by? S.M: You have Cairns Hill over there, which has a passage tomb on the top and on the hill to the right, which is just out of view there is another passage-tomb sited. Where we are on this ridge, which sweeps along Sligo, goes over the Courthouse - if you were to look at a contour map of Sligo, take away all of the housing estates we are

un-burnt human bone, three molars and one incisor tooth of a young individual; the tooth of a goat, and another probably of a dog; also the bones of a goat or sheep.

C.M: Where is that? S.M: It’s at the back of the Hawkswell – the Peace Park there. There was actually another monument at the Peace Park which was completely demolished. C.M: What was it called? S.M: The ‘Sligo Stones’ and it was marked on a map dated 17.

hill that this is on, just a slight elevation and then you are at a place called Caltra - where they found the causeway enclosure 200BC, that’s on the same ridge then as Carrowmore. They are all on slightly elevated terraces. These monuments are possibly part of the route-way and are all connected. C.M: Do you think this monument has regional significance? S.M: Yes. This is relating to the pre-historic landscape of the Cuil Irra region, with Ballisodare Bay to the south and Sligo Bay to the north and the Atlantic to the west and this area here, including Queen Maeve,7 Carrowmore, Cairns Hill and this monument are all part of the same ritualized landscape of predominantly passage tombs. This might be part of a ‘ritualized avenue’, bringing you to the holiest of holy ‘Tomb 51’8, the centre-piece of Carrowmore. C.M: It is incredible. I am going to have to look at a map to see all of these monuments in relation to each other. Do you think the people here know what this is? S.M: Most of the people who live here have no idea what is here. They call it the fairy fort (ring fort), but ring forts date to the 8th

standing on a slightly elevated site. The river is meandering down

century, or thereabouts. XX / 3

C.M: Do you think this will ever be dug again? S.M: No. Look here, this is a bit of chert - but it’s difficult to tell if it’s been hit.9 C.M: What is that? S.M: Part of a waste tool, god knows what you would find when you really start to look. You get chert in limestone and flint in chalk - flint is a much better quality tool. The Neolithic tools that you find in Sligo were made from chert. I know a guy who will look at this for me and can tell what it is and if pre-historic it could be argued that something must be done about the damage caused by traffic crossing parts of the monument because it is disturbing archaeology. C.M: Is there a preservation order on this monument? S.M: Yes, it’s protected now, but obviously when the housing estate was built it wasn’t. I think you can see the relationship between this and the location of the river and the river and this monument are integrated in terms of why this is located where it is. Like I said on the top of that hill you have a huge cairn and on the adjacent hill another one and it does seem to fit in to this notion of a ritualised landscape - a marker, which signifies that you are now entering somewhere important and it is definitely linked 100% to Carrowmore. I made a plan of this for Stefan Bergh, so I can give that to you. C.M: Has it ever been published? S.M: In Stefan’s book; ‘Landscape of the Monuments’, he has a very good analysis of this site and a synopsis of Wood-Martin’s excavation. It’s amazing isn’t it? C.M: Yes, the more I come up here, the more I am blown away by it, taking photographs, looking at the river and the land. I have been over to the other side of the river to Fintan’s Quay and the view from that side of the river is incredible. What do you think they would find

9 Chert is a sedimentary

rock composed mostly of the mineral chalcedony— cryptocrystalline silica, or quartz in crystals of submicroscopic size. It can form in parts of the deep sea where the tiny shells of siliceous organisms are concentrated, or elsewhere where underground fluids replace sediments with silica. Chert nodules also occur in altered limestones.

buy out their houses, now they are being asked to spend their later years behind these eight to 10 feet-high walls with a major carriageway on their doorsteps.” http://buckplanning. (www.

new bridge)?10 S.M: They would possibly find polished stone axes. The analysis shows from previous excavations elsewhere that they weren’t accidental ‘loss’ but that they were placed into the river as some kind of offering. And some times what you find is oyster, broken bits of oyster if you are lucky. If you look at the seal for Sligo town, there is a hare and a shell, but originally in Wood-Martin’s book he talks about the Sligo Stones - which were signified as six oyster shells on the original seal for Sligo, but again over time they altered the design of the seal from six oyster shells into a scallop shell, which has nothing to do with Sligo. The predominant shells that you will find in Sligo are oyster shells. So again this points to the fact that there was some settlement going on here and that’s why I would be concerned about this monument.

10 “The €18 million

project, which is seen as a vital infrastructural service for the establishment of Sligo as a Gateway City, could be ready to go to the planning stage in the latter half of 2008. Crossing points of the Garavogue have been identified in the preliminary design for the new bridge at the Doorly Park/Martin Savage Terrace green area and the Molloway Hill/Ash.” September 13th (2007) Leo Gray, Sligo Champion. “Most of these people moved here as the original tenants of these in the 1950’s when this part of town was still countryside and they worked hard all their lives so that they could

if they were to excavate the river near Buckley’s Ford, (site marked for

C.M: Could you tell me about your practice as an archaeologist? S.M: As a landscape archaeologist I work with a number of notions. The notion of a node - which is a point in the landscape, a network – which connects the nodes and the space that they inhabit and topography - detailed features and patterns on the surface of the land. Combining these strategies; networks, nodes, space, and mapping reveal how those meanings might be manipulated, changed or altered through time. C.M: In relation to this monument how would you read it’s positioning in the landscape? S.M: Our main question would focus on whether this monument was a nodal point, referencing a complex network of similar monuments and the spaces they inhabit and then you start to get closer to answering questions about the landscape, its inhabitants, use and value.

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fzi Maps kindly reproduced from ‘Landscape of the Monuments – A Study of the Passage Tombs in Cúil Irra Region, Co. Sligo’ (1995), Dr. Stefan Bergh.

XX / 38


Abbey Quarter North (2007).


‘Stone Circle near Cleaveragh’ drawn by William F. Wakeman, July 29th, 1879. Copyright; Sligo County Library.


‘Groundplan of Monument in Abbey Quarter’ (original at scale of 20 feet : 1 inch) from ‘Rude Stone Monuments of Ireland’, Wood-Martin.

XX / 0

XX / 42

View from Fintan’s Quay

sketch(s) RIVER Re-tracing the footsteps of Miss Owenson 1807–2007


Portrait of Miss Owenson, Title: ‘Imaginary portrait of Lady Morgan – Author,

SYDNEY MORGAN, Lady c. (1783-1859),

at the Opera in the Theatre Royal’, late 1820’s Painted by Samuel Lover,

authoress, daughter of the Irish

Medium: oil on tin, Dimensions: Unframed 5.3 x 5.2 cm. Copyright Rights and Reprodutions Department of the National Gallery of Ireland.

actor Robert Owenson, and an English mother, Jane Owenson (née Hill). Robert was the only son of Walter MacOwen or Owenson – a Connaught farmer and Sydney Crofton – the granddaughter of Sir Malby Crofton of Longford house, Sligo. She began her literary career writing the

Patriotic Sketches of Ireland, Vol I & II, (selected excerpts)

words for rare Irish melodies that

Written in Connaught by Miss Owenson – London

she had collected, making a link

Printed for Richard Philips

between Irish and Arabian music.

No.6 Bridge Street

Her eclectic output included novels,


travel books, sketches, articles,

Published by T.Gillet, Wild-Court

pamphlets, a comic opera, a biography


and a women’s history. However,

Book dimensions: 18cm L. x 10 cm W. x B. 2cm

the book which consolidated her reputation and brought her name into controversy was The Wild Irish Girl (18o6), in which she appeared as the ardent champion of her native country, a politician rather than a novelist, extolling the virtues of Irelands cultural, political and social landscape. She was known in Catholic and Liberal circles by the name of her heroine “Glorvina.” Her writings made her financially independent and she was the first female author to receive a pension from the British government in recognition of her work. She married the surgeon Thomas Charles Morgan and settled at 35 Kildare Street, Dublin, hosting a ‘literary salon’ for regular meetings with artists, writers and politicians. Samuel Lover who painted her portrait was a regular visitor and shared her love for Irish music,

XX / 

poetry and history.

long owed a pilgrimage to this remote, and I believe, little-known barony; for it was the residence of the dear and respected friend for whom that heart had long throbbed with an invariable pulse of gratitude, tenderness, and affection.

SKETCH I. The scenery, which environs the town of Sligo,1 is bold, situated in the county of Sligo, province of Connaught, 105 miles from Dublin, it is a borough, post and fair town. The high road (the northern road) by which it is approached for the last twenty miles, winds through a scene of romantic variety, which frequently combines the most cultivated and harmonious traits, with the wildest and most abrupt images of scenic beauty. Though despoiled of theses luxurious woods which once (in common with the rest of Ireland) enriched its aspect, it still preserves many of those traits which constitute the perfection of the landscape; hanging over a beautiful bay formed by the influx of the “steep Atlantic,” sheltered by lofty mountains, and reposing

The lakes and fairy land of Hazlewood,4 the bold attitude of Benbulbin,5 the beetling brow of Knock-na-bee,6 the ocean’s gleaming line commingling with the horizon, and the town of Sligo spreading irregularly along the base of a lofty hill, crowned with meadows, and successively betrayed by the expanding view; till the softening influence of twilight mellowed every outline into air, and dissolved every object into one mild and indistinct hue.

almost at the brow of a hill along whose base the river Gitley2 steals its devious way, and guides the eye (in its meandering course) loses itself amidst charming lakes, reflect expansive shores and boldest mountains; while on the other side of the river a range of pasturage hills, a distant view of the ocean is partially caught and a chain of lofty mountains forms the bas-relief

SKETCH III. The literal meaning of the word Sligo is the “town of Shells,” and the derivation of the epithet is traced by local history and oral tradition to the following curious origin. Many of the inhabitants of Esdera (now

to this animated picture.3

Ballysadare)7 having been driven by the vicissitudes of civil dissension from their native place, fled to the shore, and of the shells and pebbles flung by the violence of the tide along the coast, created a number of huts, which formed the infancy of Sligo.

SKETCH II. I left Dublin in the autumn of 1806, with the intention of rambling through such scenes in the north-west of Connaught as I had not yet visited; and it was here that these rough sketches copied with the same rude simplicity with which they are drawn in the moment of passing observation. My heart had

1 Sligo’s Gaelic name, Sligeach (a place abounding in shells), derives from the abundant shellfish found at the river and estuary. The Ordnance Survey letters of 1836 state that “cart loads of shells were found underground in many places within the town where houses now stand.” At that time shells were constantly being dug up during the construction of foundations for buildings. 2 Prosaic name used in the late 18th &

19th century literature which may locate the passage of the river Garavogue as it leaves Lough Gill, traveling through

SKETCH IV. I involved myself amidst the ruins of Sligo abbey,8 which seemed to have moldered into a new beauty. I touched its cloisters with a painter’s hand;

Cleaveragh Demesne under a foot-bridge which is positioned on top of the old weir. (Source: Fiona Gallagher) The place meaning of Cleaveragh/Cleveragh (Cliabh/Cléibh meaning basket) ‘place of the basket makers’, references not only to the once abundant growth of willow/ sally in the area but the local industry of ‘creel’ or basket making for farm and fishing transport. (In this publication, I have spelt Cleaveragh as it appears on the original estate map.)

4 Owen Wynn, esq. who was chief

proprietor of Sligo town and county lived at Hazelwood House (Hazelwood formerly known as Annagh). Annagh Bay was formerly connected to the Garavogue river. Hazelwood House is an early 18th century Palladian style residence designed by the German architect Richard Cassell’s. During the civil war of 1921-22, Hazelwood house was occupied, successively by the “Army, a lunatic asylum, a chemical factory and a Korean manufacturing company of video tapes”.

3 The sequential ‘sketch’ system that I

have used here, does not correlate to Miss Owenson’s ‘sketches’ in her books.

XX / 6

It is currently vacated and awaiting redevelopment. Tony Toher, ‘Exploring Sligo and North Leitrim’, published by Sligo Chamber of Commerce & Industry (1994). 5 Ben Bulbin (Beann Bulban, the peak of Gulban). 6 Kings Mountain. 7 Historically named Assadar. 8 Sligo Friary.

undulating line of the coast of Ulster; unite within the scope of a coup-d’oeil picture highly animated and romantic.

years had mellowed its once grey tints into a variety of glowing hues and had enriched its vegetative drapery with more luxuriant masses of foliage. I make way through the arched entrance to the chapel. A stone gallery still surrounds the nave of the chapel. The delicate proportions and construction of the eastern window are ornamented with Gothic arches and curious tracery; the tower elevated is partially dilapidated; and three sides of the cloisters that once formed a large square, are still supported by a range of small fluted pillars, enriched with a variety of devices of the most minute workmanship, and crowned with an arched roof. I sat down on the tomb of the royal O’Connor, and plucked the weed or blew away the thistle “that

SKETCH VI. The direct path to the glen is tracked through an expansive meadow, which slopes from the foot of Knoch-na-ree towards the bay, and terminating in a certain point by a narrow defile forms the entrance of the glen, which winds between a double-range of rocks for more than a mile. The rocks in many places are so perfectly concave and convex, that it appears as if another shock would unite them again into one solid mass. The glen is sometimes overflowed by these torrents, while the immense masses of rocks (covered with moss and lichens) which they force down at intervals in their steep descent construct for the steps of the adventurous wanderer, a species of little causey, and the overarching of the cliffs seem to threaten destruction from above or, by a conjunction of their respective shrubs, forms a leafy canopy almost impervious to the beams of the sun.

waved there its lonely head.”9 These ruins spread along an inclined plane, bathed by the river Gitley, and guides the eye (in its meandering) course to the delicious scenery of Hazlewood, and loses itself amidst those charming lakes, reflect expansive shores and boldest mountains; while on the other side of the river a range of pasturage hills, a distant view of the ocean is partially caught and a chain of lofty mountains forms the bas-relief to this animated picture.

The mountains of Donega,13 floating like vapors in the haze of distance; and as a background to the animated landscape, the mountain of knock-na-ree, rising majestically from behind the rocky sides of the glen which reposes at its base. The rocks in many places are so perfectly concave and convex, that it appears as if another shock would unite them again into one solid mass.

SKETCH V. About three miles from the town of Sligo, lie’s a beautiful spot, called the glen of Knoch-na-ree,10 from the bold and romantic mountains, along whose base it winds the road which leads to it from the town. The little maritime


village of Gilbratar,11 whose white huts appear glittering among the rocks that skirt the irregular coast; the cloud-capped heights of Benbulbin and

Sughna-Clogh,14 or the Giant’s Grave near the town of Sligo, excites a different interest. Several immense stones are raised upon the ends of others, which seem pitched perpendicularly into the earth, and give to the eye a miniature representation of Stonehenge on Salisbury-plain.

Knock-na-ree, with a distant view of the island of Innismurray,12 and a faint

9 Reference to O’Connor – who was related to the ‘Royal O’Connor’, the Kings of Connacht. (Source: Sam Moore)

11 Coastal area, that runs from Gibraltar Point - Cummeen Strand – Rinn Strandhill.

10 Knocknarae – there are many

12 The island of Innishmurray is situated

translations of which; Ard na Riaghadh - ‘Hill of the Executions’, Cnoc na Riabh – ‘Hill of the Stripes’ (fissures), burial place of Queen Maeve of Connaught, who reigned in the first century A.D.

6km North-west of Streedagh Point, county Sligo in Donegal Bay. It is a low, flat island of some 95 ha. composed of carboniferous shale/sandstone. The island has been uninhabited since the 1950s and is an important archaeological site and breeding bird ground.

13 Slieve League, Co. Donegal. 14 Sughta-cloch - DeerPark,

(Magheraghanrush). 15 Gleann na Chairte - the glen/valley XX / 8

of the standing stone. “The remarkable feature of the vegetation is the alpine

character of the flora of the limestone escarpments; and does not occur in Britain.” Rober Lloyd Praeger, ‘The Way that I Went’, Dublin: Hodges Figgis (1937). 16 Sruth in Aighid an Ghaoth (Stream in the face of the wind).


heights of Benbo22 and Benbulbin; the opposite shores of the bay, crowned with the majesty of Knock-na-ree, a partial view of the town of Sligo; and the woods which skirt the adjacent lakes, are caught, and lost at intervals, amidst the devious windings of the road, which passes directly through the village of Ballysadare.

The water-flight of Glencar15 derive its source from the summit of a lofty hill, whose base it scarcely reaches (if the wind is in a certain point); there it is again carried perpendicularly back forming a species of waterspout,16 nothing can be more splendidly beautiful than its appearance when seen under the influence of an unclouded sun, rising like a pillar of light; the least variation of the air breaks it into a feathery spray, which falls at a considerable distance. Nor is the water-flight of Glencar the only aquatic curiosity in the neighborhood of Sligo. The hill of Knock-na-shong, or the Hill of the Hawk, is from its elevation the first point of land seen on this coast at sea, and has become a kind of land-mark to mariners. Yet not-withstanding its altitude, and its distance from the shore, its summit contains a small well, which ebbs and flows with the tide.

This little village lies on the banks of a river, which has its source in the mountains; and forms in its rapid course, over a steep and unequal bed, a beautiful succession of waterfalls, which wear the singular appearance of an aquatic amphitheatre. The rapid and repulsed stream breaks over rocks from point to point, for the space of more than two hundred yards till with congregated force it reaches the principle steep, which is upwards of fifteen feet perpendicular. These romantic cataracts, when seen through the dark woods, which once surrounded them, and with the full relief of Knockna-ree in the rear, must have ranked amongst the noblest scenic features in the world.


Over the deepest of the falls, and on the point of a little promontory (which appears flung between the confluence of the river and the bay, into which it pours its waters) hang the ruins of an abbey, founded by St. Fechin in the

The road, which leads from the town of Sligo to Tyreragh17 is varying and romantic in its aspect, skirting the most romantic part of the coast of Sligo; twenty-seven miles long, and sheltered by a continued chain of mountains, above whose varying elevation the “cloud-capt” summits of

seventh century. Near Ballyredon lies a lead-mine,23 which, though very rich, has never been worked with success; and Glanesk,24 and Lockalt,25 are but at an inconsiderable distance, while the luxurious island of

Knock-na-shoug,18 Knocka-chree,19 and Nephin-noble,20 are conspicuously distinguished. The bay of Sligo,21 the fairy land of Hazlewood, the distant

17 Sligo was divided into five baronies:

Carbury, Coolavin, Corrin, Leyny, Tirerril, and Tireragh. 18 “Knock na Shong is probably Carraig

na Seabhac or Hawk’s Rock – this is near Tullaghan Well or Hawk’s Well. It is a large rock outcrop between Coolaney and Beltra in the Ox. Mts. The well she refers to that flows and ebbs with the tide is Tullaghan well”. (Source: Sam Moore) 19 Knockachree – Ox Mountain range. 20 Nephin, Nephin Beg, Ballina,

Co. Mayo. 21 Sligo was one of the principal

emigration ports on the Western

seaboard. Between 1750-1850, it was the focal point for emigrants from the Northwest and served as an outlet for the neighboring counties in both Connacht and Ulster. Between 1831 and 1851 an estimated 60,000 sailed from the port directly to America. During the 1830’s emigration from Sligo was the highest for any Irish port outside of Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Derry. Its emigrant trade was double that of Limerick and four times that of Galway and Westport combined. Apart from Limerick, it was the only western port to which an emigration officer was appointed in 1835. Grosse isle in Quebec, witnessed the arrival of over 40,000 Irish people who traveled

Ylanabaolane,26 which forms the bay of Sligo.

XX / 10

in 1847, year of the famine. To document the historic site at the west end of the Island, the burial trenches where thousand of Irish emigrants were laid to rest and the monuments, one next to the graveyard and the other on ‘Telegraphs Hill’. The source of this journey comes from Gerald Keegan, who was a native of Sligo and kept a diary of the journey he took and what he witnessed en-route and arriving at the island. The diary was published in Huntington, Quebec in 1895, but was censored by the government. James J Mangan F.S.C, re-wrote and published Gerald Keegan’s diary in 1991, published by Wolfhound Press.

22 Leitrim. 23 Situated near St. Fechins Church, just west of Ballysadare. 24 Lough Easkey, North Sligo. 25 Lough Talt, or the ‘High Lake’,

Ox mountain range. 26 Ardbolin Island and Horse Island lie 1km apart and 15km north-west of Sligo town in Co. Sligo. Both islands are uninhabited, and are of major ornithological significance. SpecialProtection AreasSPAs/Sligo/

incessant murmur in its impeded course. A little circular spot sacred to religious gloom, and shaded with sycamores and elms, terminated the glen; its entrance was constructed of a rude arch, and the flag, which formed its threshold was thrown over the stream, which had doubtless been the Rubicon of faith to many an all-believing soul.

L**** house,27 the ancient family seat of sir M***C***n, Bart, was the goal of my little journey. The lands and demesne of L*** lie, almost along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, and immediately beneath the shelter of Knockachree (or, the “hill of the heart”) when measured from the shore, is supposed to be one of the highest mountains in Ireland) from whose rugged base swells the lesser chain of the Ox-mountains.

In the centre of this consecrated spot stood a round stone bath, which received its tributary waters from the adjoining sacred spring; which was simply covered with a broad flat stone, raised over it longitudinally.

The shores on the other side of the bay are romantic and striking; the beautiful peninsula of Tandsago,28 intervenes its cultivated landscapes, and most happily breaks the view.

A path was traced round the holy well, which seemed to have been “worn by holy knees,” and a small bowl suspended over it by a chain. At some little distance from the bath and well stood a simple altar, enriched with stones, and shaded by a spreading oak, from whose trunk was hung a wooden crucifix, and on whose branches were thrown the votive offerings of those whose “faith had made them whole,” while the names of the pious convalescents were carved on its bark. By the time we had reached the old avenue of L *** house, the moon rode high, and darted her beams through the foliage of the trees that canopied our heads and the air, calm and still breathed odors; such was the evening in which my last ramble amidst the romantic wilds of Sligo was taken.

SKETCH X. The last rays of the setting sun had withdrawn their glow from the ruins of Drumard,29 and were succeeded by a clear twilight, animated by the brightness of a rising moon. We were on the point of returning to L **** house, which was little more than half a mile distant across a field-path, when a partial view of a holy well caught as we descended the brow of the hill, and tempted us to a little pilgrimage aside, for it lay almost in our way to L **** house.30 We directed our steps therefore to a glen, through which a stream meandered its irregular way, over a rude bed of rock, which produced an

27 Sir. Malby Crofton, Longford House, Beltra. “Sir Malby Crofton, a gentleman according to the genealogy of Connaught, but a farmer by actual position. He was very handsome in person and tall in stature. The Croftons, settled in Ireland in the days of Elizabeth. Sir Henry Sydney, who was the governor of Connaught, made the head of the family escheatorgeneral of the province. In the partition of the lands and estates of the Irish, the ‘Escheator-general’ did not forget himself; he left at his death six brave sons to inherit six good estates; the second of these sons settled at Longford House, in Sligo, where a Sir Malby Crofton still lives at the present day.”


Lady Morgan’s Memories: Autobiography, Diaries, Correspondence, London: William H. Allen & Co. (1863). 28 Tanrego. Ballysadare Bay extends

10km westwards from the town of Ballysadare, Co. Sligo and is the most southerly of three inlets of the larger Sligo Bay complex. Turlough O’Carolan, composed a piece of music titled; ‘Colonel John Irwin (Planxty Irwin)’ for Colonel John Irwin who lived in Tanrego House at Ballisodare Bay. 29 Dromard. Map (overleaf): © Ordnance Survey Ireland/Government of Ireland

30 St. Patrick’s Well at Dromard.

Copyright Permit No. MP 001908.

XX / 12

© Ordnance Survey Ireland. All rights reserved. Licence number 2008/11CCMA/ Sligo Local Authorities.

XX / 1


What to look for?

XX / 16

pattern(s RIVER A user’s guide – from the birds to the fishes

XX / 

XX / 

Lough Gill viewed from Greenaun Bay (Dromahair)

The Islands of Lough Gill, Co. Sligo recorded by Jim Caheny. Lough Gill is about 2 miles from Sligo Town. It is about five miles long and 1.5 miles wide and is one of the most beautiful lakes in Ireland. During the summer months and throughout the year numerous visitors from all over the world visit and tour around Lough Gill and they always say that the scenery is truly magnificent. There are 19 Islands 1

on this lake. The largest is called Church Island - Innis Mór on which there are the preserved ruins of an ancient church, destroyed by fire in the year 11. A lot of valuable manuscripts were lost in this fire. Another Island called Cottage Island – Gallaher’s/Beezies also has the ruins of an ancient church which they say belonged to its mother

1 “I visited a house of

along you come to Fairy Isle and to the right and near the western

public resort0 near the lake, which the citizens of Sligo frequent on Sundays; and tasted their favourite beverage, called scolteen; composed of the following ingredients – whiskey, egg, sugar, butter, caraway seeds and beer”. J.Stirling Coyne, ‘The Scenery and antiquities of Ireland’, Mercury Books London (1842), p.88.

point of Church Island is Monk’s Island. Further on under Clogherevagh is an island called Black Tom’s (Ecclesiastical Enclosure) and near here Seagull Isle, where the herons nest in the spring. Further on St. Connell’s Isle and Tober Connell Bay, where St. Connell’s well is still gushing forth clean and beautiful spring waters (Feast day June 2nd). We now turn across the lake towards Slish Wood and the two Islands; Slish East and Slish West, can be seen from Rockwood Shore. Turning westward we come to Goats Isle and then Cottage Island already mentioned. On the western side of Aughamore Bay are Green Island and Hawk Island.

church, located on Lough Key near Boyle. In the south east of Lough Gill is the Island made famous by W.B. Yeats – The Isle of Inishfree

It is of interest to know that Black Tom’s Isle is mentioned as Swan

- The Heathery Isle. There is a mountain on the south side called Slish

Island. Black Tom’s Isle contains an ecclesiastical enclosure or fortified

and is so named because it is shaped like a beetle. The Irish women

enclosure, where ancient warriors and chieftains went for sanctuary

long ago used a beetle to beat out the clothes when washing in or near

and were called for by the local clerics/monks who had some ties or

a Slieán or River. There is another range of mountains which extends

relationships with the individuals. Even Connaught men and Ulster

in a westerly direction towards Colloney and is called Slial Dá Ein -

men, though enemies, were welcomed.

James Francis (Jim) Caheny

The Mountain Of The Two Birds (Wild Geese) who were lost in this little

was born in 1911, son of

lake which is near the top of the mountain.

John and Mary Caheny

In conclusion I would like to mention a holy well near the mouth

(nee Killalea) publican

of the Garavogue. This well is known as Tober-An-Alt - Tobernalt

Near the mouth of the river Garavogue where it leaves Lough Gill

and grocer. From a young

and mass is said on the last Sunday in July which is known as

there is Tiffin’s Isle - Sally. Further on before turning into the lake

age, Jim together with

‘Garland Sunday’. This is a holy place, where Pilgrims visit, pray and

St. Bernard’s Isle. As you continue on, Wolf Island is to your left.

his brothers Patrick and

do penance, including the Stations of the Cross amongst beautiful

Turning north and along Hazelwood there is a small island called

Raymond spent many days

surroundings. On Garland Sunday pilgrims walk to this holy place. In

Willow situated near the quay on this shore. On going further north

fishing on Lough Gill. He

the past many town people went by boat up the Garavogue river to

there is a narrow tongue of land extending eastwards into the lake

collected stories, and

Tobernalt. The people who inhabited the Islands on Lough Gill made

wrote poetry, whilst

their crossing by boat. A friend of the family, James Patrick McLynn

called Castle Point so named on account of an ancient castle, the ruins of which are known as Annagh Castle.

researching local and

(long since gone R.I.P), told me that he used the stones from the

national history. He played

shores of Lough Gill to build the old altar. A different structure now

the banjo penning self-

The name Annagh applied to Hazelwood in ancient times. The Bay on

adorns this spot.

made rhymes and songs. He

the north side of this point (Castle) is called Annagh Bay and there is

died on the 24th January

a small cairn shaped Island (Crannóg) called Owen Beul’s connected

1992 aged 80 years and was

These are the islands on Lough Gill with the exception of the three

with ancient history back to the sixth century. We now continue up

the last surviving member

man made on the lower portion of the Garavogue River.

along the north side named locally as Stone Park. As you continue

of his family.

XX / 

XX / 10

The Last of the lake dwellers on Lough Gill Many years ago two brother’s (Jim and Raymond Hale) while fishing on Lough Gill, Sligo, were compelled to seek shelter on Cottage Island during a severe storm. An old lady, ‘Beesy’2 they called her, was the sole occupant of the little cottage there and was always very willing to welcome visitors or such as sought refuge or shelter in her little abode. There were others who came ashore, mostly visitors and youngsters picnicking etc. and they often chased her goats and chickens all over the place which caused her much annoyance. She had practically the free use of this little island holding and any fallen timber, branches, or deadwood, were her main supply of fuel. On no account was she permitted to fell a tree unless she got permission from the then owner of the estate. One fine summer’s day the writer with some younger members of his family paid a visit to this lovely spot. A little girl strayed away from the rest and was later found on top of the little fort which lies about thirty yards or so west of the little cottage. The old lady, at once warned her of the danger climbing this fort, as the fairies would take her away. This old fort, I learned had some connection with

2 Bridget Gallagher

(Beezie) Clerkin, lived on Cottage Island most of her life, and would row up and down the river and lake to get her supplies, stopping at Cushcaddens, a gatelodge which stood at Doorly Park pier. Sadly, one night she fell from her rocking chair and fell in to the fire and died. Her body was discovered by Jumbo McCarrick and Vincent McLoughlin. She is buried in the Sligo cemetery, known as the ‘middle section’ not far from the main gate. She was 78 years of age. (Source: Joe Caheny, son of Jim)

the rock Dooney on the mainland which is directly opposite this spot. Dooney rock was an outpost, supposed to be used as a signaling point for the inhabitants of the island. There is a little deep inlet or harbour on the mainland right under Dooney Rock where small barges or craft can land safely. There are several landing piers and anchorages (large boulders) scattered all over the lake which were in use centuries ago by the inhabitants, who lived and traded with each other from store to store. Time and space do not allow me to relate further the takes of old ‘Beesy’.


Jim Caheny


Jim Caheny taking fishermen on a boat trip – Lough Gill.

XX / 12


XX / 1

Where will picture captions be used?

XX / 1


XX / 1


‘Travellers, there is no path, paths are made by walking’1

Picking mushrooms is probably becoming a folk memory in an 1 Antonio Machado,

Ireland where the access issue is not alone eliminating the paths of

I have developed a circle-based management template to help

Spanish poet and

the people, it is removing the possibility of people making paths by

communities and individuals reconnect with their local landscape and

playwright (1875-1939),

walking. A solution might be arrived at if we looked at the issue of

to ‘urge people not to treat their landscape as something remote, but

Title of poem: ‘Proverbios

access and footpaths in particular as neither a rural or urban issue but

to consciously ‘see’ their landscape perhaps for the first time.’

y Cantares by XXIX’,

rather as a people issue. There is a need for a National Walking Policy

Published in Campos de Castilla (1912).

Most, if not all children go through the ‘but why?’ and the ‘what’s

which could provide the framework for the farmers and the walkers to co-exist amicably.

that?’ stage. We adults so easily forget that children are seeing and experiencing their world and their landscape as something new and

We are living a historical continuum that stretches back along each

exciting for the first time.

family tree and forward into future generations, the story being written in many languages and forms, not least in our own genes. Our

As they accumulate knowledge the intensity of the interrogation eases

landscape equally has a story to tell and a future to write. We are part

– they are beginning to know their world and that is largely their local

of the shaping and the changing of that landscape – a tangled maze of

landscape. Prior to that stage, parents live in fear of their children

natural and human heritage.

being ‘lost’ and the children vacillate between wishing to stay securely by their parents side and responding to that surging curiosity to see

The ‘RIVERwork(s) Public Art Project’ and the ‘Landscape Circle’ might

what is around that next strange and exciting corner.

well be the equivalent of a local free bus tour through the landscape – where each passenger becomes his or her own guide. They might

It was no accident of fate that Grimm’s Fairy Tales had so many

even turn out to be effective councillors as they help us repair the

stories that involved children being tempted to turn that next

sundered relationship that so many of us appear to have today with

strange and exciting corner and experience the dreaded sensation

our landscape partner.

of losing their sense of direction in a landscape that was now strange and threatening. Fairy tales aside, it is easy to get lost in

Terry O’Regan, Landscape Alliance Ireland

an unknown landscape. And the landscape around the corner may indeed be unknown. Terry O’Regan, a sometime

But just as strange footpaths can become familiar, familiar footpaths

horticulturalist with

can become strange. Walking is the best and possibly the only way to

landscape, heritage,

remain connected to your landscape. Out picking mushrooms in past

environmental and social

years, I well remember the sense of disappointment one early summer

leanings who writes a

misty morning, on noting the ‘path’ of footprints of dislodged dew

bit and speaks a bit longer

that marked the path of the mushroom picker who rose earlier than

may be contacted at

me – the one who commenced making the path by walking.

021 487 1460 and For information on ‘The Landscape Circle’ see the web site

XX / 20

f d

XX / 22

Periptetic markers Formations


XX / 2

Pete Marshall


Noel Roddy, Ollie Fallon, Anthony McCann


Brendan Smith, Christy Hynes
























| 21




1998 1997


| |






8 19









52 1988





Fish catches from Lough Gill and the Garavogue river from 19-200.

Data was sourced and collected from the Sligo Anglers Club



(Christy Hynes and Edward Armstrong. Since 2007, fishing


on the Garavogue has been suspended.


| 72







| 57

| 43

19 93








19 92




5 199


XX / 2

XX / 2

tone(s) RIVER Botanical survey at Doorly Park

‘The welfare of a nation depends on the happiness which it enjoys itself, and the respect with which it inspires others.’1

1 Source: Miss Owenson, ‘Patriotic Sketches of Ireland’ Vol. 1, p.41.

XX / 


L > R Jackie Quinn, Jack Cole, Freddie Shaw, Jim Keaveney, Steven Bergin, Dan Shaw, Dennis Candy, J H Bengamin, Charlie Townsend, unidentified, Mayor Michael Nevin, Patrick Kelly, Pat Anne Kelly, Mary Kelly, unidentified.

XX / 

Tree-planting at Doorly Park 1951

XX / 

XX / 10

XX / 12

XX / 1

Taking Notes while walking with Don Cotton in Doorly Park 8th August 2007. The River Garavogue – ‘An gharbhóg’ means ‘little rough thing’1. This short length of river is deep, wide and relatively slow flowing. Its rapidity increases as it flows past the Silver Swan Hotel into the estuary2. It has several rare species: sea lamprey which breeds possibly in the river or in the lower end of the lake – we don’t know, but it is here as are river lamprey and brook lamprey. The sea and river lamprey are migrative aquatic animals and both are parasitic attaching themselves by suckers to other fish. They are Red Data Book species and are also listed in the European Union’s Habitats Directive which means they are protected. The other species of interest are sea trout and salmon. The sea trout breeds in this river rather than in the lake, whereas the salmon goes up through the lake. There are obviously various other fish of lesser interest. Occasionally you will get a seal coming up through here – the common seal, following the fish migration up river. The river is bounded by common reed and in places there are a few other plants such as bulrush, water horsetail, you also have water plantain and greater water plantain (that’s the plant with spearDon C.F. Cotton, B. Sc. (Hons), Ph. D., M.I.Biol., Rahaberna, Sligo. Senior Lecturer in Ecology, Institute of Technology, Internationally recognized

shaped leaves). The white water lily and the yellow water lily and to see the two side-by-side is rare. I just spotted a butterfly, the silverwashed fritillary butterfly – it is the largest butterfly in Ireland. This is the first time I have ever seen one here, that comes as a nice surprise – I will make a note of that.

expert on the flora and fauna of Sligo and

The area here is called a riparian zone, which is a ‘vegetated corridor’

Leitrim. He has extensively

on the banks of a river or a lake, an area of transition between the

published on these topics

aquatic and land zones. The first few meters are of critical importance,

and has prepared several

and what has been done? A wide gravel path has been laid down

environmental impact

over all of the special vegetation and has destroyed it. It should have

assessments on Sligo and

been allowed to stay wild. The riparian zone is of major importance

the Northwest.

to the river as this is where all sorts of insects live, where you get all kinds of transitory life forms moving between water and land. It’s

XX / 1

like a motorway for wildlife to travel along the riverbank. The bank

XX / 1


Great Water Plantain

vegetation is still intact along much of the opposite bank, but there

1 The beauty of the

2 The Silver Swan Hotel

I’ve spotted a damselfly, it lives on the river and depends on the

is a danger that a footpath might be planned for the north bank and

environs of Sligo is very striking, but the town itself lies in a hollow, through which glides the river that leaves Lough Gill as a broad-stream, and so it continues, until it reaches Buckley’s Ford, from there it narrows and becomes more rapid, falling some twenty feet between that spot and the tide way. The river divides the town into two equal parts, that on the southern bank being more considerable. On the east there is a lake of about five miles in length, out of which runs into the bay a good stream of water passing under a bridge, dividing the town into two parts wherein are frequently taken great stores of brave salmon, pikes and trouts, and overlooked also from a near hill by a very strong fort to protect it. In the North of the town of Sligo, for it is stated in the Four Masters that Fearsatreanna an Liagain, a ford on the Sligo River, was so named from Liagain, a famous warrior of the Fomorians, killed there on his march to the Battle of Moytirra.” Wood-Martin, ‘History of Sligo, County and Town’, (1882).

has since been revamped as is now know as the ‘Glass House Hotel’ situated in the center of Sligo town.

riparian zone for survival. When they come out of the water they have

that would be awful because there are quite a few things there that are special to this place. You need places where the river rises in the winter and floods into the woodland, places that give you a special mix of species that can survive. The riverbank should be full of bees, various insects and a good mix of native flora and fauna – a complex network of life. That’s the reason why the far bank and this area are protected as Special Areas of Conservation. So here you’ve got bogbean – the scientific name ‘trifoliata’ which means three-leaved and there is also purple loosestrife, wild angelica, bog stitchwort and tufted vetch. The stinging nettles are a sign of disturbance. The snowberry dominates the area; it’s all over the countryside, not just here. I don’t think we will ever be able to get rid of it now. Also here is the red osier dogwood, a North American plant. Both the snowberry and the red osier dogwood are invasive species which take over the natural habitat. Look underneath the shrubs, nothing grows there. Because of the disturbance, the weeds have taken over and the natives have been pushed out. Some native plants will come back in again, but you have a lot of invasive species coming in through disturbances of the ground and moving of soil. That is how the roots of the red osier dogwood get spread around. I’ve just spotted a small elm tree – a tree that has almost died out in this country due to a fungus disease. It was the forest-forming tree of this country. The leaves look a bit like those of hazel. This is another invasive plant which I haven’t noticed here before, traveller’s joy. It is native to Britain but not to Ireland. I don’t know how you can stop people planting these non-native shrubs. Look here, this is a nice grass, which is a native woodland grass – Brachypodium syilvaticum, which literally translated means ‘short-footed grass of woodland’ and it is very attractive.

to feed like mad, moving between the river and its bank for food and when fed they mate and return to the river to lay their eggs. What we have living in this area are 70% non-native species, 20% weeds and 10% native plants. It’s an ecological disaster. In fact there was an international UN report looking at the most serious global problems written some 20 years ago in which climate change was way down the list – the top global problem on the list was the loss of biological diversity caused by habitat destruction and spread of invasive species, species that have travelled from one country to another destroying the local habitat and vegetation. This once alluvial woodland is damaged ground and there are few alluvial woodlands left in Ireland.

XX / 20

Following the riparian zone through Doorly Park

XX / 22

1 Philip Larkin (1922-

What would happen to our sense of place, our communities and our physical surroundings if we were to develop a hybrid understanding

erosion of our historical connections with a divided and more difficult

1985), Title of poem; ‘An Arundel Tomb’ was written in 1956 and published in The Whitsun Wedding Collection.

past is almost palpable. As the aura of progress clumps along the

2 The reference here is

boreens, kicking up hedgerows, knocking down the relics of the past

to Myles na gCopaleen’s article in the Irish Times 1944 where he criticised the way in which many Irish artists in the 1940’s mimicked international trends without understanding their source. His specific concern was with Irish artists who made work in relation to World War 2., drawing inspiration from ‘an occult premonition of agony’.

‘Persisted, linked, through lengths and breaths of time’1 At night as the wind whistles through bleak, black eyed-sockets of empty windows and whips past yet another new development, the

and covering them over with flash billboard posters of “borrowedstyles,” our cultural insecurity becomes increasingly apparent2. Confident nations do not need to “assert their identity at the expense of others and especially at the expense of the other within themselves.”3 In postcolonial discourse the idea that one cultural experience could be less than another more dominant culture is negated. This is because it acknowledges the interweaving connections of lives and experiences from across the world, or as Homi K Bhabha points out, “straddling two cultures with the consequent ability to negotiate the difference.”4 Being in-between two cultures is an interesting place with the potential to fuse illuminating possibilities

3 Mac Einri, P.,

for communities. Bhabha refers to this in-betweeness as hybridity. coloniser and colonised, challenging the validity and authenticity

Ciara Healy is an artist,

of any essentialist cultural identity. It opens a space of intervention

writer and curator and

‘Britain and Ireland – Lives Entwined’, British Council, Ireland, Dublin, p. 44. (2005).

– “touching the future on its hither side”.

has lived between Ireland

4 Bhabha, Homi K.,

and the UK for a number

‘Nation and Narration’, Routledge, New York (1990).

A hybrid identity emerges from the interweaving of elements of the


When the botanist Praeger first came to Ireland to execute his

of years. Healy has worked

extraordinary record of native Irish plants he did not know that they

on site-specific and

can hybridise more easily and readily than animal species and the resulting hybrids are often more fertile, more resistant, producing larger and vibrant species.

commissioned projects and has exhibited in many solo and group shows Internationally. Her artists

5 Bhabha, Homi K., ‘Nation and Narration’, Routledge, New York (1990).

books are published by and are regularly on show at the London Artists Book Fair and the Small Publishers Book Fair.

XX / 2

of our past and present? What would emerge when things lost and gained through re-development are brought together in a more meaningful way? Renovating and reinventing, rather than knocking down our complicated divided pasts can create hybrid identities where interconnected stories become both familiar and strange - opening a space for negotiation, between that which has changed and that which remains. Ciara Healy

XX / 2

Walking time – time walking

RIVER note(s) Re-claiming the Gate Lodge at Doorly Park

Extracts from work-diary kept during my residency at the Gate Lodge in Doorly Park, Sligo, summer of 2007.


lives a few doors up, gave

into the town, and fields

Clean-up day

me a picture of her son in his

for football and expeditions

pram underneath Doorly Park

through the Wood-Martin

gateway entrance.

Gerry from Rathedmond Engineering installed steel shutters for two of the front windows. I can now open and close the windows, signaling my arrival on site to the local community. Paddy Milles from the flats next door called in, he remembers the last resident of the gate-lodge Mrs. Kelly and her husband Patrick who “kept the house and grounds beautiful”. At 2pm Joseph and Michael from Sligo Borough arrived at the lodge to help me clear out a room in the Gate Lodge for a temporary studio. Joe Scanlon from Sligo Borough called by to check on the work. Rita McFadden, who

Post-out day

hours they both have seen

and the smallest was in 1992

Joseph and Michael (Sligo Borough)

foxes running in this area.

at 3. Since 2007, fishing on

Ricardo Marquez

Opposite the Gate Lodge

the River Garavogue and the

estate”. Peadar’s parents

across the river Garavogue is

River Bonet (Leitrim river which

came from the “Abbey”, the

Fintan’s Quay where boats

flows into the Garavogue) has

posing outside the Gate Lodge

were launched. Further down

being suspended. Edward

at Riverside

the river is Hazelwood. There

Armstrong says there are many

Magdalena Czajka

is a resting place that the

reasons for the decline in the

children were known locally

ggg The Gate Lodge at Riverside gg g


as “children of the Abbey”.

Patrick, Patann, Brigid, and Mary

I organised a poster and

Peadar was born in a cottage

information leaflet for

where the Blue Lagoon pub

fishermen use for tea breaks

stock such as developments

RIVERwork(s), hand-delivered

now stands. Tommy’s dad

called the ‘The Shell House’.

on the river bank, lack of

to shops and residents of

Sidney was Mayor of Sligo

the area. While out walking I

in the 1960’s. They both

met with neighbours Peadar

remembered Detective Chatton

Connolly, Tommy Gallagher

who lived at the Gate Lodge

Sligo Anglers Club (Christy

called UDN which the salmon

and Austin Byrne. The men

at Doorly Park. He kept a

Hynes and Eddie Armstrong

catch at sea, which may be as

spoke about fishing, regattas

cow called ‘Bess’ and had a

including club members) have

a result of radio-active waste.

and duck-races that were all

Jack-Russell called ‘Silver’.

kept a meticulous record of

This disease (a viral infection)

held at Doorly Park. Austin

Across from the lodge was

the salmon caught in the

is quite nasty as the salmon go

remembers it being a perfect

an area called ‘The Little

Lough Gill – Garavogue area

blind, marking their skin with

place for kids; “what with

Wood’ and nearby ‘Blue-bell

from 1958 to 2006. Between

large white patches and when

no roads, a green bank with

Wood’ which has since been

these years the largest catch

caught the salmon weep.

a walking track which led

redeveloped. In the early

recorded was in 1965 at 380,


conservation, disturbance to Fishing

XX / 

the river-bed, influx of seals from the sea and a disease

Book-work I made a trip to Galway to

of movements between what is there and what is not there.

meet with the artist Ciara Healy who is co-director of


Ignition Press. We discussed


the variable manifestations of this work and the distribution of the publication.

I went to Dublin last week to meet Niamh McNally curator of Prints & Drawings at the National Gallery of Ireland,

Dressing Later on in the week I called to Lesley and Pauline from ‘The Irish History Company’. They produce period costumes Arbutus Tree Edward spoke to me about a rare tree which grows on the riverbed at Lough Gill and

is guiding me through the task of tackling Miss Owneson’s books which will act as a guide for this work.

Garden-space I spent the day with Ricardo cutting back weeds and grass that had grown over the past

found also in Killarney and

few years since the Gate Lodge

the Mediterranean regions.


was left empty. For a few

Cleaveragh Demesne

months, I have been collecting

The tree is called ‘Arbutus’ (Arbutus Unedo – The Killarney Strawberry Tree). A striking evergreen tree that produces white flowers in May and strawberry-like fruit in Autumn. Years ago he took a cutting, which is now growing in his back garden.

I walked with Richard WoodMartin, (grandson of Colonel William Gregory Wood-Martin 187-1917), through Cleaveragh Demesne. He has also given me access to a rare estate map of the area. I called to Marie Stewart who lives at Riverside. Her mother, Winifred (Brennan

Miss Owenson Yesterday, I was in the local history library to source books on botany and plant-life in

née Cauley), as a young woman worked in the Gate Lodge as a companion to Mrs McCray for a number of years.

ggg L eslie Thomas

gg g

for dramas, plays and

(working on my dress)

individuals. Lesley will make

Peadar, Tommy and Austin

a dress for me based on an

Edward Armstrong

18th Century design inspired by Miss Owenson’s travel-log


Willie McFadden

of Sligo. Her writings also provided the impetus to make a number of land-

wild-plants from wastelands,

drawings, tracing the grounds

pathways and riverbeds

of Cleaveragh Demesne. These

around Sligo. I have made a

drawings will provide the

list of all the ground-floor

material for the dress, which I

plants at Doorly Park. This

will wear on-site, performing

work is partially inspired by

specific activities in landscape.

Robert Praeger who conducted

These acts embody successive

numerous geographical tours

inscriptions of a place, a time

of Ireland’s vascular flora.

and of a culture re-imagined

“The Irish Topographical

and re-connected through a

Botany”, his most seminal text

process of translation. This

took him five years to compile

work re-considers place as a

and he covererd in excess of

‘palimpsest’ an interweaving

6,500 kilometers on foot.

to view two portraits of Miss Owenson titled; “Imaginary Portrait of Lady Morgan - Author, at the Opera in the Theatre Royal”, late 1820’s by Samuel Lover, and “Print after drawing of Lady Morgan”, 1825, drawn by Robert Cooper. It was a privilege to secure a close reading of both works. The painter Samuel Lover was born in Dublin and was an active member of the Royal Hibernian Academy, exhibiting many paintings throughout his career. He was a water-colorist renowned for his miniature portraits. Throughout his life he actively documented the folklore, songs and stories of rural Ireland. He met Lady Morgan at her ‘artistic salon’ in Kildare Street, Dublin where they both shared and evolved professionally through their many expeditions and avid collection of local history and culture.

Sligo. I met Dermot Healy who XX / 6

‘40 Districts’


a welcome sign of summer for one day, and later on bonfire

Lough Gill

And much later

I met Joe Caheny, son of James

“Land Registry: Folio 21525F,

(Jim) Caheny who collected

County Sligo (Register of

stories of Lough Gill and was

ownership of freehold land).

I walked from the National

The next place on my itinerary

Gallery to Pearse Street Library,

was to visit the Government

which holds the National

Publications Office to acquire

Archive Collection. I was

a copy of, “An introduction

a very active fisherman and

Description: The property

searching for Praeger’s book,

to the Architectural Heritage

member of the Sligo Anglers

shown coloured Red as plan(s)

“Irish Topographical Botany,”

of County Sligo,” published

Club. He presented me with

BGKP6 on the Registry Map,

as I was interested in why

by the National Inventory of

a selection of family archives

in the parish of St. John’s

Praeger had divided Ireland

Architectural Heritage 2007. I

that I will use in this work.

situate to the north side of

into 0 vice-counties for his

wanted to find out if the Gate

botanical survey. I discovered

Lodge was a listed building.

they were mainly practical

The lodge maybe in a very

which was to indicate each

vulnerable position due to

unit of area to correspond

the proposed route for the

to the same landmass. He

Western Garavogue Bridge.

achieved this by sub-dividing

Later in the week I spoke to

the six largest counties

Nicolas Prin’s about Doorly

into 1 smaller divisions.

Lodge and how it could

In other words to devote

be listed. The building is

equal time to each spatial

under the ownership of Sligo

land-unit. When out-lining

Borough, thus the way forward

these botanical divisions he

is for the residents to ask their

also considered the physical

councillor to propose a motion

presence of occuring patterns

for the Lodge to be listed.

and boundaries in the landscape. Technically this allowed Praeger to design

night how it was tossed into the river.

Walking I received a call from Peggy Flynn who I had met over a year ago when this project

Doorly Park in the town-land

was awarded to me. Peggy Gatekeeper

is a tireless campaigner for Riverside and she and Larry Fowley started up the ‘Residents Association’ in 1992. The Residents Association included many dedicated members throughout the

and plan his journey time

I met Kieran Adam’s at the

for each botanical place,

Lodge whose family were

distributing his fieldwork and

originally from Riverside. He

time proportionally for each

remembers his parents talking

numbered sub-division.

about ‘courting’ on the river Garavogue in boats. He spoke about the ‘whin’, which was a sprig of furze bush pinned to the front door of each

Urban, O.S. 1012-13, 18-Apr-

Kelly, who lived at the Gate

2007 (Sligo Borough Council of

Lodge. Patrick Kelly worked

City Hall, Quay Street, Sligo is

for Sligo Borough and County

full owner).”

photographs and the diary

planting trees and flowers and general good maintenance


I imagine they will be

of Riverside. Peggy who is


I imagine they will be short and sweet?

daily at Doorly Park. She is Meeting Place

the daughter of Mr. and Mrs.

me with a number of family

rubbish from the streets,

originally from Kerry, walks

electoral Division of Sligo East

Gate Lodge. She supplied

cleaning roads, picking

her dad kept as gatekeeper while working at Riverside. The family lived in the Gate Lodge from the 1950s and Mary’s mother Brigid (Bunnie)

sometimes accompanied

was the last family member

by friends, family and her

to live in the house up-to

dog; “in springtime you can

2001. Later, I went for a walk

hear the birds sing from all

through Doorly Park, taking

the trees, pass the ducks

pictures of a number of people

and swans on the river, pick

who were out strolling for

oak and chestnuts from the

the day.

ground, which my granddaughter has planted in the family garden”.

household on the 1st of May as XX / 8

the barony of Carbury, in the

I called to Mary Mullen who is

Council as caretaker of the

years. Their remit included;

of Cleaveragh Demesne, in


Where will picture captions be used?


I imagine they will be short and sweet?


Where will picture captions be used? I imagine they will be short and sweet?


XX / 10

Nature Conservation Links

Irish Government

Landscape (National & International)

Department of The Environment, Heritage & Local Government

ENFO - public information on the environment

Environmental Protection Agency -

GIS data for the built heritage and nature conservation

Heritage Ireland –

Irish Government –

Irish Legislation (Office of the Attorney General) European Commission & International Environmental Agencies

Irish National Biodiversity Research Platform

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH)

Irish Organisations

International organisations & conventions

An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland –

BirdWatch Ireland –

Genetic Heritage Ireland –

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group –

The Heritage Council –

Irish Peatland Conservation Council –

Wetland Ecology Research Group XX / 12

A very special thanks to

Eddie Armstrong

Richard Wood-Martin

Tim Roderick

Sean O’ Reilly

Padar Connolly

The Arts Council, Ireland

Martin Enright

Cliodhna Shaffery

Sarah Leavy

Royal Irish Academy

Michael McGloughlin

Bryonie Reed

Ronan and Tom Culkin

University of Ulster, Belfast

Micky Dunbar

Ciara Healy

Nicolas Prins

Donna McGreavy

John and Mary Loughlin

Joe Caheny

Tom & Des Kenny

Teresa Mullaly

Magdalena Czajka

Eamon Brennan

Molly and Finn

Brigid Corcoran

Alan Ellert

Robbie McDonald

Adrian O’Connor

Denise McCarthy

Adam Gzorny

Terry O’ Regan

Fran Hegarty

Waterglades Garden

Leonora Baklastawn

Ruairí O Cuív

Donald Tinney

Leila Bitirova

Fiona Gallagher

Sligo County Library

Patrick McManas

David Cameron

Siobhan Ryan

Gary J. Salter

Royal Irish Academy

Steve Baker

National Gallery of Ireland

Caroline Conmy

Joe Scanlon

Sandra Coffey

Ricardo Marquez

Mary McDonagh

& family Peggy Flynn Marie Stewart Rita and Willie Mcfadden Kieran Adams Christy and Ann Hynes Tommy Gallagher Don Cotton Leslie Thomas Paddy Miles Fiona Kelly Mary & Tony Mullen Sligo Anglers Club Larry Fowley

Centre, Sligo

Malcolm Gerry Anthony McCann

OSI Ireland

Marian O’ Callaghan Ollie Fallon

and Local Studies

Austin Byrne Thomas O’Donovan

Sean Martin

Michael Condren Pete Marshall

Eileen Tierney

Bobby Egan Brendan Smith

David Knight

Diarmuid Nolan Dermot Healy

Erica and Simon (Coracle)

Dave Duggan Sam Moore

Joe Lee

Anthony Skeggington

Dublin City Library

Aidan Mannion Liam McCarrick

XX / 1

and Local Studies

‘This is, to me, the loveliest and saddest landscape in the world’.1

1 Antoine De SaintExupéry, ‘The Little Prince’, Egmont Books Limited (2002), p.91. XX XX // 16 16

XX / 18

Profile for Christine Mackey


Commissioned: Sligo County Council Arts Office RIVERwork(s) (2006-2008) was devised as a publication from the many explorations of the harb...


Commissioned: Sligo County Council Arts Office RIVERwork(s) (2006-2008) was devised as a publication from the many explorations of the harb...