Tag Archives: Aras Eanna

Reflections on Inis Oirr – Marged Pendrell

I approached my residency at Aras Éanna with an open mind and the intention, to immerse myself in the terrain of the island and the Irish language as much as possible. As a native Welsh speaker I was particularly interested in exploring the concept of ‘cynefin,’ a Welsh word for relationship to ‘place’.

Most of my art practice is based on walking and that is how I explored Inis Oírr. The terrain was unlike any other I have seen, the weather was moody and altered my perception of what I had seen the previous day or even hour.

I recorded my walks with quick sketches, or in small concertina books. Each book became an intuitive exploration of its own, of subject or concept.

Marged Pendrell 3

The quality of light both in and out of the studio inspired new larger exploratory pastel drawings, combining colour and form with the weather, with the huge studio window playing an important part.

Marged Pendrell 1

Many conversations that I had with the islanders was of how things were in times gone past, of how things had been on the island, of how people had to leave for other lands. This inspired a  ‘flotilla’ of small craft made by taking casts off selected boat shaped stones/pebbles and covering them with collected sands from all over the island symbolising the layered  shadows or spaces of a former life.

Marged Pendrell 2

My days spent exploring the materials of the coastline and recording with the camera were my most intuitive and playful, as light, form and colour came together for an instant only.

This has been a wonderful opportunity for exploring new working practices, an inspiring culture and to develop a strong sense of ‘cynefin’, one that will feed my working practice indefinitely and I hope to return.

Marged Pendrell 4

Marged Pendrell was artist in residence at Aras Éanna on Inis Oírr in September 2017.

I love Inis Oírr, and Inis Oírr loves me

Plaque and Hat LR

Following in the tradition of Marina Abramović, JesseJames created a performance piece at O’Brien’s Castle during their residency at Aras Éanna on Inis Oírr.

Jessica was “present” in the pitch black vaulted room up at the castle. Tucking her bag behind the gate into the room, she was present, wearing sunglasses and the iconic JesseJames red tam o’shanter. Over time, people peered into the gloom, but could not see the art piece.

Then a young boy looked in and called over his shoulder “here, dad, someone’s left their bags here.” His small figure stood in the dark doorway, uncertain of what to do. He stood a while longer, then reached to Jessica’s bag. From the darkness came a ghostly voice “do not touch the bag.” He jumped six foot into the air. He turned and fled.

A few minutes later, he came back, holding his dad’s hand. “There’s a ghost in there” he whimpered. His dad entered the room and saw Jessica, in red hat and sun glasses, holding “the artist is present” sign. Jessica stood enigmatically, saying nothing. The dad said to his son, matter of factly –” it’s not a ghost, just an artist.”




Ancient Ways

The ancient ways are going

For the old woman knows words

In Gaelic, her grandchildren don’t,

Their Irish, modern, anglicised,

Hers bound to the earth

Carved by it as the rock underfoot.

The currachs like discarded shells

Of black backed beetles

Lie rotting in the sand.

The well-worn paths once woven

Into the landscape by feet

Are now mudded and gouged by tractor

Tyres no longer bordered

By smooth, soft margins,

Once home to wild garlic and primrose.

The Arctic Tern still finds a shelter

As does the Cuckoo and the Swallow

But the Corncrake left long ago.

Grey rock, grey sand, grey sky

Still the same, not yet scarred

But there’s a change in the wind

For the ancient ways are going,

Blowing away.

The ancient ways are going

Poem: Catherine Conneely. Image: JesseJames


Inishative with John Shaw-Rimmington

Inish less or inish more
Inish either Inish or
I’m glad I’m back in Inisheer
I think I’ll have a local beer
Inish woman Inish man
On the isles of Aran
The first Irish coming here to live
Really had inishative

Flattish roundish
Start to finish
Upish downish
Outish Inish

Beyond the view beyond the sky
Almost as far as sea can eye
Before my strength and health diminish
I must return once more to Inish

Attractive views here and there
You see a tractor everywhere
Walls of grey
On greenish isle
random walls in feidin style

Mudders here. Children there
Tursty tourists everywhere
You needn’t be a power house
To climb up to the tower house

It isn’t such a real big hastle
To catch a view from yonder castle

It’s worth the trip on the ferry
To Lands of walls of bramble berry

Words and Image: John Shaw-Rimmington


Feile na gCloch

Feile na gclochLR

Feile na gCloch Festival of Stone is an annual event on Inis Oírr that takes place every September. It brings together practitioners in stone walling, stone carving and letter carving from around the world to celebrate the heritage of the stones of the Aran Islands. In 2017, a new workshop was introduced, to reflect on the role that drawing and sketching plays in each of these traditions. The workshop was lead by JesseJames and Pat McAfee.