Artist Marie Connole is taking her fascinating ‘Vial’ exhibition on tour to Scariff this Thursday.
The event, which will be hosted by Scariff Library Gallery, will be followed by a discussion with historian Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara on his book ‘The Scariff Martyrs: War, Murder and Memory in East Clare’.
The discussion highlights Ireland’s Revolutionary Period in Clare from 1919 to 1923. Of particular focus are the events that occurred on 16th November 1920 when the IRA Volunteers Michael “Brud” McMahon, Alphie Rodgers and Martin Gildea and Michael Egan, a civilian who had sheltered them, were shot dead on the bridge of Killaloe by British forces. The legacy of this event resonates in East Clare to this day and the four young men became known as the Scariff Martyrs.
Marie Connole MFA is an award-winning artist from Clare who has had solo exhibitions at the Irish Arts Center in New York, University of Galway and Sím Iceland. She is currently one of the adjudicators for the Texaco Children’s Art Competition. In ‘Vial’ Connole was commissioned to create artworks highlighting events from Ireland’s War of Independence and Civil War. For this latest exhibition she has also created a new painting entitled ‘The Scariff Martyrs’ and will discuss the symbolism in the work during the exhibition tour.
The Clare artist has adopted an original, visual approach to this history so that contemporary audiences may view these events from diverse perspectives. To assist this YouTube videos and downloadable Posters entitled ‘Irrepressible Women of Clare’ are available from the websites of Clare Arts Office, Clare Education Centre and Clare County Library History Week.
Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara is an oral historian and author from Clare. His 2019 book The Time of the Tans is based on his over 400 personal recordings with older people, focused on the Irish War of Independence. In 2016, he was commended by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, as one of seven recipients who have made outstanding contributions to culture over the last 100 years for a Comhaltas Forógra na Cásca Centenary Award. That same year he was appointed by UCC as Manager of the Cork Folklore Project.
In September 2021 Mac Conmara published ‘The Scariff Martyrs, War, Murder and Memory in East Clare’ with Mercier Press. The story of the Scariff Martyrs has endured over the past century in song and story and been brought to new audiences with this publication. The book was many years in the making and can be traced back to when he first became interested in the history of the War of Independence period in County Clare.
This event has been supported by the Clare Arts Office and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Community Strand of the Decade of Centenaries Programme