On Sight 2017

Mayo Arts Squad community artists creating a ‘living shelter’ in the award-winning Museum grounds of Turlough Park


 On Sight 2017 artists create 'Teach Saileach : Willow Room' at the National Museum of Ireland-Coutnry Life. 

 Arts Squad* artists working as a Meitheal (team) are creating a beautiful outdoor 'Willow Room'. The projects sees the artists creatively imagining and constructing a large vibrant beehive shaped space. It is constructed by weaving willow and some hazel as well as other pliable natural materials.  

The On Sight 2017 team

A time of inspiration and growth.  The work commenced off-site in April 2017 with gathering and sorting of local willow. The artists are working on site from May (Bealtaine).  May is traditionally the first month of summer in Ireland.  With Bealtaine literally translating from Irish to English as ‘bright fire’ - it is a time of celebration and a farewell to the darkness of winter. 

Mayo Arts Squad (David McInerney, Mick Smyth, Saw Tun)

Inspiring artists. The National Museum of Ireland's  Irish Folklife Collections includes a vast collection of traditional baskets made in a great variety of shapes and sizes, once serving many different functions in the home, on the land and on the sea. Many of these are on display throughout the Museum's four floors of exhibition galleries at Turlough Park and are an inspiration to the artists in their work. 

Many uses for the 'Teach Saileach : Willow Room'It will offer a space to groups, families and individuals visiting the Museum and grounds.  It can be used as a classroom base to explore the ever-changing wonders, habitats and biodiversity of Turlough Park gardens. It can be a space for artists to work outdoors including future On Sight installations.  It can be a space of contemplation and rest. It may be an inspiration to others considering working with willow or intrigued by the techniques of basketry, one of the oldest traditional crafts. It may be a space for meetings and workshops. Come and visit and see what you think. 

On Sight - May 2017 - work in progress

Sited in award-winning gardens. The site for the shelter is in a secluded but accessible scenic wooded area to the rear of the exhibition galleries, close to one of Turlough Park’s ‘veteran’ beech trees.   It is one of the many fine mature trees that enhance the nearly 30 acre Turlough Park, a legacy from the eighteenth-century parkland.  

On Sight - May 2017 - work in progress and 'veteran' beech On Sight - May 2017 - work in progress - detail

*Established in 1997, Mayo County Council's Arts Squad works extensively on festivals; provide workshops and is involved with many community based projects. The members of Arts Squad have also produced an extensive body of artistic work.

'Teach Saileach : Willow Room'  will be officially launched on mid-summer, June 21 - All Welcome.