ARTWALL Exhibition and Book Launch of Brian O’Lynn

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The old Irish rhymes of Brian O’ Lynn can be traced back to the 1500’s. Over a century later, Leitrim-based artists, visual artist and ceramicist, Kate Murtagh-Sheridan and traditional singer and researcher, Fionnuala Maxwell present their version of this timeless song in a series of fresco paintings, prints and a beautifully illustrated book which brings the story of Brian O’Lynn alive. Join us to celebrate this unique series of art works through music and song at a reception launch on Friday October 21st at 5pm in The Leitrim Design House. This exhibition will continue to be on view until mid November 2022.

Brian O’ Lynn is a character from a song that was sung in Leitrim many years ago but can be traced back as far as the 1500s. The story involves a comical but resourceful man who gets himself into situations but always finds a quick solution. This particular song can be found in various versions throughout the English-speaking world. However in this work Kate & Fionnuala have rooted the character, Brian O’ Lynn in Leitrim as his rhymes have been sung in the area for many years. Including in 1950’s recordings of Mohill ballad singer, Thomas Moran and other references in local publications.


During a recent collaboration through a Co-Create bursary from The Leitrim Design House and Creative Ireland, Kate & Fionnuala worked together looking at the notion of interpretation with a sense of cultural duty to revive this age-old classic, so that children and adults alike could engage with the song, its humour and its history in a meaningful way.

As a traditional singer, researcher and composer, Fionnuala has always had an interest in fostering an interest in traditional ballads and their background stories. Based in Annaduff in Leitrim she has progressed through the ranks of CCÉ Fleadh competitions, winning at all levels, including Senior All-Ireland, for ballad singing and composing. This gave her the opportunity to perform on Comhaltas tours and at concerts, for radio and television and also to mingle with many of the ‘greats’ of traditional singing. Fionnuala has spent years on research into the area of traditional singing with a particular focus on passing the information and songs on to others through workshops and classes. She’s recorded two CDs of local songs, recorded and performed with Dervish for the Leitrim Equation project. Fionnuala has collaborated with many other artists and has been awarded support from Arts Council Ireland, Creative Ireland and Leitrim County Council through various projects.

Through the QR link on the book, people are guided to the singing of the song, as recorded by Fionnuala to accompany each verse/fresco.

Kate Murtagh Sheridan is a visual artist and art educator living in Co. Leitrim. She specialises in ceramics, plasterwork and painting and focuses on bringing scenes of bygone days back to life through her work. She too, has a deep interest in tradition and culture and is keen to represent them in her arts practice. Kate’s practice primarily involves clay and plasterwork. Each illustration was etched and painted onto plaster. Used as a canvas, to create a unique effect of colour vibrancy, depth and style. This sgraffito technique is Kate’s trademark and involves layering of colours that are then pared back and etched to reveal minute details that would otherwise remain hidden. Within these frescoes Kate has captured elements suggested by the song, the natural environment around us and various recognisable landmarks in Leitrim. Each of Kate’s frescoes are displayed in unique plaster

frames. These frames are made by incorporating wild Leitrim flora and casting them in plaster which captures the whole essence of the project as they pick up the tiny elements of flora and fauna that appear within each fresco itself.

Kate has exhibited nationally and received awards for her work and innovation. Her most recent funded by Creative Ireland include Gaw-Yas Grannie project with the Carrick on Shannon Travelling Community and Shannonside Childcare Centre, and Monumental Healing, a collaboration project responding to the Sweathouses in Leitrim. Kate also continues to work with the Teacher-Artist Partnership (TAP) and teaches Ceramics at the Leitrim School of Art.

Prints and books from this unique project will be available to purchase at The Leitrim Design House. Visit us in store in the beautiful Dock Art Centre, St. Georges terrace, Carrick-on-Shannon or online www.leitrimdesignhouse.ie