Events Imeachtaí

If the Ground Should Open... If the Ground Should Open...

  • Start / Tús:
  • 23.09.16
  • End / Críoch:
  • 15.01.17
  • Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Military Road, Kilmainham
  • Áras Nua-Ealaíne na hÉireann, an tOspidéal Ríoga, an Bóthar Míleata, Cill Mhaighneann, Baile Átha Cliath 8
  • Event webpage
  • / Leathanach gréasáin imeachtaí

A major new commission for IMMA by Irish artist Jaki Irvine, this new work takes as a point of departure Irvine’s 2013 novel ‘Days of Surrender’, which focuses on the Rising's female figures Elizabeth O’Farrell and Julia Grenan.

Sa saothar seo, ar coimisiún mór nua é le haghaidh IMMA leis an ealaíontóir Éireannach Jaki Irvine, is é an pointe tosaigh ná úrscéal Irvine ó 2013, ‘Days of Surrender’, ina ndírítear ar mhná tábhachtacha an Éirí Amach, Elizabeth O’Farrell agus Julia Grenan.

O'Farrell and Grenan were just two of more than 100 women who were ready to die or kill for the possibility of a different Ireland but whose stories were all but written out of official Irish history, consigned to the margins as the narrative was masculinised.

This new video and sound installation uses their names as ‘the ground’ of a score for nine musicians. The 11 tracks were composed by Irvine using the canntaireachd system – originally developed as an oral scoring system for Scottish Highland pipes. The basic musical motif in classical piping (piobaireachd) is called ‘the ground’ of the piece, which is then built upon with additional notes and melodies.

In If the Ground Should Open… the names of women involved in the 1916 Rising, form the ground. In this way they are performed and remembered, becoming part of the ground we walk on in 2016. The project was also developed from the leaked Anglo-Irish bankers' taped conversations.

As the artist herself explains:

'Based on the last days of the Easter Rising, it focuses on midwife Elizabeth O'Farrell who, having risked her life to deliver Pearse's surrender to the British commander, was then charged with the task of taking this agreement to each of the rebel garrisons in the city. Meanwhile, her partner, Julia Grenan, was rounded up, along with hundreds of others and incarcerated in Kilmainham Gaol, to face the consequences of their involvement in this revolution.

Researching and writing this book, I became aware that these women were just two of more than a hundred, who had crossed the line, ready to die or kill for the possibility of a different Ireland.

Aligning themselves along lines of nationality, gender, privilege, religion, blood, love was an unstable thing. Inevitably, the Rising was a messy affair. The fight was not just for an end to British colonial rule in Ireland, but for social equality. Women came from Scotland and England to fight for universal suffrage.

The launch of Days of Surrender and of Copy Press as a publishing house was held in Conway Hall, London in May 2013. Hilary Knox was invited to mark the occasion by playing the bagpipes.

The Highland Pipes: An instrument made to call from hilltop to hilltop across valleys. Ferociously challenging. From 1746 to 1782, playing the bagpipes was a crime punishable by death.

A martial instrument: to communicate. To rouse. To lead people into battle. Into marriage. Into another state of being. Into death. I learnt that for a couple of hundred years, music for bagpipes was not written, but passed on as an oral tradition, called Canntaireadh - a spoken/sung score. I wondered.

If Elizabeth O'Farrell's name was an instance of Canntaireadh, what would it sound like? And Julia Grenan? What if each woman's name might be a series of musical notes, a point of departure, which in classical bagpiping terms is known as An tUrlár (the ground)?

This ground: the names of these women have been almost forgotten, their dreams unrealised. They were all but written out of the official version of Irish history, consigned to the margins as the narrative was masculinised. I was amazed when I read their witness statements in the military archives. They were betrayed by the state that came into being - a state dominated since its inception by conservative men.

This work has its roots in something at once disillusioned and hopeful.'

- Jaki Irvine, December 2015

For more information see imma.ie

Bhí an bheirt bhan sin, O’Farrell agus Grenan, i measc níos mó ná 100 bean a bhí sásta bás a fháil nó marú ionas go mbeadh Éire dhifriúil againn ach gur bheag gur fágadh amach a gcuid scéalta ó stair oifigiúil na hÉireann, agus iad curtha ar an imeall de réir mar a leagadh béim ar ról na bhfear sa scéal.

San fhíseán agus taispeántas fuaime nua seo úsáidtear a gcuid ainmneacha mar ‘an bonn’ do scór le haghaidh naonúr ceoltóirí. Chum Irvine an 11 traic agus an córas canntaireachd á úsáid aici – forbraíodh an córas sin chun scóir bhéil a chur ar fáil do phíobáin Gharbhchríocha na hAlban. Tugtar ‘bonn’ an tsaothair ar an móitíf bhunúsach cheoil sa phíobaireacht chlasaiceach (piobaireachd), agus cuirtear nótaí agus foinn breise léi ina dhiaidh sin.

In ‘If the Ground Should Open…’ is iad ainmneacha na mban a raibh ról acu in Éirí Amach 1916, atá mar an bonn. Ar an mbealach sin léirítear iad agus cuimhnítear uirthi, agus tá siad mar chuid den mbonn a siúlaimid air sa bhliain 2016. Bhí comhráite taifeadta sceite na mbaincéirí Angla-Éireannacha mar bhunús don tionscadal chomh maith.

Mar a mhíníonn an t-ealaíontóir í féin:

‘Bunaithe ar na laethanta deiridh d’Éirí Amach na Cásca, díríonn sé ar an mbean chabhrach Elizabeth O’Farrell, a chuir a saol féin i mbaol chun an géilleadh a rinne Mac Piarais a thabhairt chomh fada le ceannasaí na Breataine, agus ar cúisíodh í ansin faoin
gcomhaontú sin a thabhairt chuig gach ceann de gharastúin na reibiliúnach sa chathair. Idir an dá linn, cruinníodh a páirtí, Julia Grenan, agus na céadta duine eile agus cuireadh i bpríosún Chill Mhaighneann iad, chun na hiarmhairtí a bhí ag a gcuid rannpháirtíochta sa réabhlóid seo a shaoradh sa deireadh.

Le linn dom taighde a dhéanamh ar an leabhar seo agus í a scríobh, ba eol dom nach raibh sa bheirt bhan seo ach beirt as na céadta ban, a chuaigh thar an líne, agus iad réidh chun bás a fháil nó chun marú a dhéanamh ar mhaithe le tír a bhaint amach a bheadh difriúil.

Agus iad ag dearbhú tacaíochta don náisiúnachas, inscne, pribhléid, reiligiún, fuil, ba shuaite an rud é an grá. Bhí an tÉirí Amach salach, ar ndóigh. Ní hamháin go rabhthas ag troid ar son deireadh a chur le riail coilíneach na Breataine in Éirinn, ach bhíothas ag troid ar son an chomhionannais shóisialta freisin. Tháinig mná as Albain agus Sasana chun troid ar son cearta vótála uilíocha.

Bhí an seoladh ar Days of Surrender agus ar bhunú Copy Press mar theach foilsitheoireachta ar siúl in Conway Hall, Londain i mí Bealtaine 2013. Tugadh cuireadh do Hilary Knox an ócáid a cheiliúradh trí na píoba a sheinm.

Píoba na hArdchríche: Uirlis a rinneadh chun glaoch ó bharr cnoic go barr cnoic thar ghleannta. Fíor-dhúshlánach go deo. Ó 1746 go 1782, ba choir é na píoba a sheinm agus d’fhéadfaí duine a sheinn iad a dhaoradh chun báis. Uirlis chomhraic: le cur in iúl. Le múscailt. Le daoine a thabhairt chun catha. Chun a bpósta. Chun staid bheo eile. Chun báis.

Fuair mé amach gur tharla sé ar feadh cúpla céad bliain, nár scríobhadh aon cheol le haghaidh na bpíob, ach gur mhair sé mar thraidisiún béil, ar a tugadh Canntaireadh – scór labhartha/canta. Ní raibh mé róchinnte.

Má bhí ainm Elizabeth O’Farrell ina shampla de Channtaireadh, cén fhuaim a bheadh leis? Agus Julia Grenan? Agus b’fhéidir gur sraith nótaí ceoil a bheadh in ainm gach duine de na mná, túsphointe, ar a dtugtar An tUrlár i dtéarmaí clasaiceacha na bpíob?

An t-urlár seo: tá ainmneacha na mban seo beagnach ligthe i ndearmad, ní bhfuair siad toradh a gcuid brionglóidí riamh. D’fhéadfá a rá go raibh siad fágtha ar lár a bheag nó a mhór as an leagan oifigiúil de stair na hÉireann, agus ba ag na fir a bhí an lámh in uachtair nuair a bhí an seanchas á insint. Bhí iontas mór orm nuair a léigh mé na ráitis ó fhinnéithe sna cartlanna míleata. Rinne an stát a cruthaíodh as an nua feall orthu – stát a raibh fir choimeádacha i gceannas air ó bunaíodh é.

Tá fréamhacha an tsaothair seo sáite i rud a d’osclódh súile duine agus a bhfuil an dóchas le brath ann ag an am céanna.’

- Jaki Irvine, Nollaig 2015

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