In 2021 and 2022 Clare County Council commissioned a number of artists to commemorate the Decade of Centenaries

Funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Community Strand of the Decade of Centenaries Programme, the commissions aim to ensure that events are remembered at community level in a respectful, measured and non-partisan manner.

Clare Arts Office was delighted to support the artists to interpret local historical events by creating artistic work that provides a platform to encourage reflection and the consideration of issues, both past and present, which may be challenging, difficult and sometimes deeply personal. Visual art, music, theatre and film were all commissioned.

2022 Commissions were awarded to Marie Connole, David O’Rourke and Deirdre Scanlan.

Deirdre Scanlan – Guardians of the Peace

The formation of An Garda Síochána on 22 February, 1922 was a key moment in the establishment and evolution of new political and administrative structures in the fledgling Irish Free State.

Guardians of the Peace is a newly-written song by Tim Collins, performed by acclaimed traditional singer, Deirdre Scanlan, a member of An Garda Síochána. Accompanying the song is a video collage of historic images relating to policing in County Clare and the country, produced by Malbay Studios. It was premiered at the 2022 National Age Friendly Awards in Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare in October 2022.

Marie Connole – An Alchemy of War

In ‘An Alchemy of the Civil War’ Artist Marie Connole has created a series of intriguing watercolours to represent various incidents from around County Clare and Ireland. The influence of 16th century alchemical illustrations is the starting point for this highly original work.

Alchemists sought to transform certain materials through chemical experimentation. They believed base metals such as lead could be “perfected” into gold. Connole uses the experimental process of alchemy as a metaphor for understanding the Irish Civil War.

During the War of Independence many Irish men and women sought the Utopian ideal of an Independent Gaelic island nation. However their methods, actions and ideas for achieving this shared ideal were markedly different. The repercussions from the Civil War that followed persist to this day. Connole’s symbolic paintings blend trauma, history and emotion to reflect the profound sadness of this beautiful but fractured vision.

David O’Rourke – Timeslip

The concept of Timeslip was to take archival images of County Clare from the time period 1919 -1923 and re-photograph them in their modern setting in order to contemporise the reality of war, occupation and civil war on a largely civilian population.

The resulting images formed part of the research for a series of paintings containing references from the present day and 100 years ago.

Research was carried out through the Clare County Library Photographic Archive, the National Archives and online photographic sites such as The Vintage Lens.