I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself, and the lead artists for the community project portion of Creative Killeagh. I’m Jessica Bonenfant Coogan, director of Greywood Arts. 

Greywood Arts is the three story house next to the bridge, across the river from the Old Thatch. In addition to being my home, it is a place where artists come to stay while working on projects – anything from painting, sculpture, and photography to dance, theatre, music, and writing. We also create events and workshops for the local community. I came to Ireland from New York City, where I directed a dance company for many years. I have worked as an arts administrator and with students in university dance and theatre programs. I will be coordinating the Creative Killeagh project. 

Let me introduce the lead artists:

  • Lisa Cahill is a dancer and educator, originally from Limerick and now residing in Cork. A former primary teacher, she pursued her passion for dance. She was Dance Artist in Residence at the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University from 2014 to 2016.
  • Carol Anne Connolly makes work that that reimagines or represents ideas pertaining to contemporary landscapes and environments. She studied sculpture, but her approach to making work  develops interdisciplinary, socially engaged and collaborative projects. She has worked with diverse communities and individuals including ghost estate residents, physicists, NGOs, farmers, poets, copyright law academics and music producers.
  • Kara Sweeney is an East Cork native and an honours graduate of media production. She works as a freelance producer of film, video and photography. She has extensive experience in short film, documentary, music videos and commercial projects. Kara also teaches filmmaking and photography workshops, frequently working with young filmmakers.  

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Last week, we all went for a walk in Glenbower Wood, the original site for May Day celebrations.  We were joined by Killeagh Historical Group’s George Fogarty and Neville Dent, who generously shared their vast knowledge about the wood’s rich history. We spent a few hours absorbing the natural beauty of the Killeagh’s greatest asset, as well as the tidbits of history hidden within the trees. We even saw a badger’s den and a holy well. George and Neville pointed out where previous May Sunday dancing would have happened, and where the lake used to be.    

The following week, representatives from various organizations around Killeagh came together at Greywood Arts to discuss the Creative Killeagh Project. Representatives from Killeagh-Inch Community Council, Killeagh-Inch 2020, the Monday Club, the Killeagh Choir, Killeagh Scouts, Glenbower Woods Association, and local volunteers joined the lead artists for a conversation about what their groups do, and what the Creative Killeagh programming might look like. It was a fantastic opportunity for the artists and groups to get to know each other.

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People happily shared their memories of May Sundays past, and told us about the music in the Wood event that used to happen in August. Many ideas for Creative Killeagh were discussed! From music and dancing in Glenbower Wood, to art and movement workshops, to documentaries and exhibitions – creative and fun community activities will certainly abound!

These meetings were great first steps in creating Creative Killeagh. We are very appreciative that so many have shared their valuable time with us!

  • The community project artists will continue their research about Killeagh through November and December.
  • Events, workshops, etc. will be scheduled in 2018.
  • A festival day will be held on May Sunday, the 6th of May.

We are eager to hear your stories, histories, and ideas. If you would like to meet the artists, or have them visit your community group, simply contact me at creativekilleagh@gmail.com  

Meanwhile, the first artist-in-residence, Léann Herlihy, has just arrived at Greywood Arts and is preparing for W O O D S H O P, which includes an artist talk, family workshops, and a performance on Halloween. The 31st will also mark the Creative Killeagh programme launch! Info here.

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