Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Marble Arch Caves Geopark’ Category

Collaborative Drawing, 2nd Series – Drawing #5

#5

#5

Advertisements

Is it Alive?

river that flows from rock Boho caves

We’ve introduced Dr. Les Brown of Fermanagh to you in previous posts. Perhaps you remember him and a discussion about caves and a porcupine (among other things) here or here? Or perhaps you remember hearing his voice on one of our Radio Dreaming Episodes here. While we were revisiting our DREAMING PLACE journey recently for a new (top secret) project that is underway, we came across this again and it struck a chord. What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

Les Brown: Normally the cave is sitting there and its bone dry and when you get a flood pulse coming through it, it seems like it’s alive, because it’s become part of the active dynamic river systems that dominate the part of Fermanagh.

Anna: So you sound quite sure it’s not alive. Could you envision a world where it is alive, or a situation where you’d actually feel it was alive?

Les: Well it depends on what you mean by being alive, I suppose really. The vegetation and the plants around the entrance are definitely alive. The cave system itself it’s always changing. Over time it’ll always be changing so in that sense of the word, Yes it is alive, because it is changing with the environment. But is it a living thing? No it’s not. But it is always changing.

Anna: It has a cycle, it has a birth.

Les: It has an origin.

Anna: And it has a death.

Les: It has death like the un-roofed cave we saw this afternoon. That’s a cave that’s dying. It will not be there in a few thousand years. So there is definitely a life cycle to a cave. They form from water moving through their conduits and they get large and eventually they die, yeah.

Anna: Kind of like us.

Les: Everything is linked up!

Transcription of Interview with Speleo-geologist and Adventurer Dr. Les Brown, Back bar McKenzie’s, Boho, Fermanagh, Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, 2011.

Inhabiting the dream: postcard 27

IMG_8754

Inhabiting the dream: postcard 25

SONY DSC

Inhabiting the dream: postcard 24

SONY DSC

Inhabiting the dream: postcard 23

IMG_8743

Inhabiting the dream: postcard 21

IMG_8735

Place-Dreamer Tool “On Stage” in Penzance

s-de-t-2-audience

Our favourite Place-Dreamer Tools has been”on stage” in the intimate space of a Georgian townhouse in Penzance, Cornwall as part of ‘Salon de Texts: Edition2‘.The rhythm of fragments(You can read more about it here.)

Anna chose to perform ” This Place has Seen….” as  a” duet” with  Mark  in this very special spoken word showcase. Originally generated under the circular navigation  aid at Berry Head National Nature Reserve  the piece offers glimpses into hidden worlds.

You can hear Anna reading the piece here.

We invented this Place-Dreamer Tool siting next to a bubbling brook at the foot of Cuilcagh Mountain in the Marble Arch Caves Geopark during our DREAMING PLACE residency. You can read some of what we wrote that day here. “This Place Has Seen” also features in our Radio Dreaming broadcasts and you can read all about  this and other “free writing” tools in the Place-Dreamer Toolkit here.

To use “This Place Has Seen” yourself:

  • Sit comfortably in a place that you want to get to know better.
  • Have pen and paper at hand.
  • Use the phrase, “This Place Has Seen” as a prompt for your imagination, intellect and psyche to delve into the known, unknown and imagined history of the place where you are sitting to retrieve images and snippets of its past.
  • Write down whatever comes to mind, unedited.
  • Have a look and see what you’ve written. It may surprise you.

We’d love to hear about your experience if you try using “This Place Has Seen”.

What are the “tools” that you use to delve into a place?

“Under The Blanket of the Land” – new review by Tracey Warr

Fingers on Moss
We are delighted to share a wonderfully evocative, new piece of writing about Radio Dreaming and Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, by novelist and art writer Tracey Warr. It is called “Under The Blanket of the Land: ClaireandAnna, Radio Dreaming.”

It starts:

“Hold a shell up to your ear and you hear the sound of the sea, a sound that tells you maritime stories, conjures up ships, waves, tides coming in laden with seaweed, sea breezes whipping your hair into your eyes. Artists Claire Coté and Anna Keleher make artworks that do something similar but with the sound of the land instead. Their artworks and radio broadcasts invoke ancient and contemporary stories of the land: its undulations, its soils, the layers of rock beneath our feet in a subterranean world usually hidden from view. The artists use the human geography and history of landscapes to speculate about our shared future.” Read more

Inhabiting the dream: postcard 12

IMG_8312

Gratitude, Episodes and an Article

1. Gratitude: As it is the season of “Thanksgiving” in the U.S., we would like to express our gratitude to everyone and everything (people, places, creatures and things) that have contributed to, participated in and supported DREAMING PLACE and Radio Dreaming. (Of course our thanks includes you, our readers too!)

Rad_Dream_Article_Nov2013we2. Episodes: We are very pleased (and grateful) to finally be able to announce that the complete series of Radio Dreaming Episodes (including the two NEW, long awaited Off-Grid Episodes) are now available for one and all to listen to, both on radio stations and here on our site. We would love for Radio Dreaming to play on your local radio station, so if you don’t yet see your local radio station on our broadcast schedule, please let us know and we will do our best to get the series on your local station.

3. Article: Now that the Radio Dreaming Series is complete, it is making it’s way onto the airwaves and also into “the local papers.” Check out this article recently published in the ‘Tempo’ section of the Taos News. (A larger, legible view of the article is available here.)

Travelling with a question

what does it mean to be off-grid

Inspired by the technological challenges of our journey into the wilds of Marble Arch Caves Geopark in Ireland and Northern Irlealnd for DREAMING PLACE, we returned to the island of Ireland early this summer for a new and entirely different experience. This time we carried with us folding solar panels, a kelly kettle and an important question.

What’s does it mean to be off-grid ?

Its always enlightening to travel with a question, it offers a slant, a fresh perspective and gives much inspiration. As we travel  invitations flood in from people eager to share their off=grid lifestyles and ideas with us so we came back with a bundle of recordings  for a final episode of Radio Dreaming.

We are excited to announce that Radio Dreaming Off-grid part 1 and Radio Dreaming Off-grid part 2 is almost ready and will be coming soon.

Listen to “What is off-gridding?  and  Radio Dreaming Episodes 1-4 

Inhabiting the dream: postcard 3

Inhabiting the dream is camping off-grid on Trinity Island

Inhabiting the dream is camping off-grid on Trinity Island

Inhabiting the dream: postcard 2

Inhabiting the dream is.... finding buried treasure in unexpected places

Inhabiting the dream is…. finding buried treasure in unexpected places

Dreaming place with our Pod Tour

Like a faithful pet our little pod follows us to outlying homesteads, castles, museums, lakes and windy hilltops, providing refuge to all sorts of people and their dreams. With its gleaming shell, comfy sofa and tool-kit of unusual props the pod  becomes a vibrant hub of dialogue, music , ideas and laughter.

In the coming months we’ll be creating  Episode 5 from audio footage gathered on the island of Ireland so completing our  Radio Dreaming series. Look out for news of broadcasts on Community radio stations around the world.

A pod party is a great way to make art in outlying areas.

A pod party is a great way to make art in outlying areas.

Inhabiting the dream

We are home after a month long launch journey to the homeplace of Radio Dreaming.

Inhabiting their Geopark dream has been fun, engaging and rewarding. Novel encounters with audience participants have included honey bees, Jehova Witnesses and an upturned boat.

Though we were rained on quite a bit, our big thank you to the people, places, creatures and things of Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark has left us with an inspiring afterglow.

And its definitely been worth the effort and all the hassles with funding. Our solar panels worked a treat and it has is been a fabulous way to celebrate Cultural Heritage, Geology and the Arts.

Radio Dreaming at Shannon Pot

Dreaming Place silk-screen printed tea towels

Check out our 100% linen silk-screen printed tea towels! We had 100 printed for backers’ rewards for our successful Kickstarter campaign as well as to sell during our recent Radio Dreaming Pod tour and here online.

A DREAMING PLACE online store is in the works, but in the meantime, if you are interested in purchasing tea towels, contact us and we will email you the details.

100% linen teat owels by Claire and Anna

100% linen tea towels by Claire and Anna

Place-Dreamer Pod at Green Lough, Cavan town

Musicians in Pod at Green Lough

Musicians in Pod at Green Lough

Today, 15th May we are at Green Lake on the outskirts of Cavan Town for the official opening of Green Lake from 7-9pm.

Please join us!!
Green Lake

Place-Dreamer Pod in Enniskillen

Today we are in Enniskillen. You’ll find us in the courtyard at Castle Museum 10am – 5pm. Please join us if you are in the town on Bank Holiday Monday.SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Place-Dreamer Pod at Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre

Today May 5th we are at Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre. It’s going to be a busy day!

Joanne at Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre is very enthusiastic about the Pod.

Joanne at Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre is very enthusiastic about the Pod.

Bus outside Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre

Place-Dreamer Pod out and about in the Geopark

Pod party visit to Wayne and Louise's near Enniskillen

Pod party visit to Wayne and Louise’s near Enniskillen

Today we are out and about in the Geopark. (Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark). We’ll be playing Radio Dreaming Broadcast to whoever is willing to listen!

Frog on Cuilcach

Place-Dreamer Pod in Cavan

Courthouse

This week we started off the Radio Dreaming Pod Tour in Cavan town outside the Courthouse, town centre carpark and Bullock Art Centre.

Many of you stopped by on the way out of court to work or the library to admire the pod, climb aboard the pod for a listen or to respond to some of our Place-dreamer props. We heard some wonderful and inspiring stories about boglands,wild food, and hair rinses. And some of you stopped by for  tea with us. Up on the hill traveler children came out to look at our wee caravan and ask for CDs of our episodes for their grannys and grandads. After an interview with local Cavan TV, we were invited on to a boat rally.  Tea and sandwiches  and many stories later later we finished up at Sally’s house to rescue a drowned boat from the lake!

BullockArtCentre

Place-Dreamer Pod Ready for Tour

Radio Dreaming Pod Tour:  Marble Arch Caves Geopark, Éire/Northern Ireland
25 April – 17 May 2013 Claire Coté (New Mexico) and Anna Keleher (Devon)

SONY DSC

Part listening booth, part Place-Dreamer tool-kit, Anna and Claire’s roving off-grid installation features voices of Marble Arch Caves Geopark. A 5-part radio adventure, Radio Dreaming whisks you over-ground and underground in search of edible landscapes, wild dreams and myths of the land. Visitors to the Pod are invited to share a pot of tea, step aboard to listen or simply to dream.

Catch the pod at MAC visitor Centre 5th May 10am-5pm, Enniskillen Castle Museum courtyard, Mon 6th May 10am-5pm, Green Lake opening 15th May, 7-9pm Cavan town or look out for the Place-Dreamer Pod as it tours to off-grid locations in Cavan, Fermanagh and Leitrim through 17th or May.

Visit www.dreamingplace.eu/pod for info and venue updates.

DREAMING PLACE technology collaborative drawing 13 by Claire and Anna

Radio Dreaming Kickstarter Video is LIVE!

Radio Dreaming Kickstarter Video
Almost two years in the making, Radio Dreaming is definitely our most ambitious (and expensive) collaborative project to date.

We invite you to join the final push to launch our 5-part series and Radio Dreaming Pod Tour through Kickstarter. Watch our hand-crafted video and find out how to support our project. Donations from £5/$7 are rewarded with gifts of hand-drawn dream cloud postcards and printed Place Dreamer artifacts.

Go to: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/radiodreaming/claire-and-anna-radio-dreaming

Oracular power of a cave

An unexpected acoustic experience at Coolarken Cave at Boho prompts Claire and I to consider the musicality of water in contact with Geology.  Did prehistoric tribal peoples dwelling near the present day village of Boho visit Coolarken cave  to collect  dreams?

Listen here to  our  Coolarkin Cave Musings snippet:

Radio interviews

Lucinda interviews Anna on Soundart 102.5 Fm an Art and Community Radio station about Radio Dreaming and her collaboration with Claire Coté. Sound Art radio broadcasts from Dartington, Devon  and is associate member of RADIA fm.

Anna Keleher + fiddle music by Susan Hughes on Amelia’s Culture show, Riviera Fm, a community radio station livestreaming in English Riviera Geopark, Torbay, Devon .Amelia’s culture show Riviera FM interview 11.10.12 copy

High low ancient contemporary kind unkind

Technology is very much a part of Dreaming Place; the high tech kind, the low tech kind, the ancient kind, the contemporary kind, the kind kind and the unkind kind. Our international collaboration is shaped by the technologies of the past, future and present. So w’e’re delighted to have been invited by Anita McKeown of SMARTlab to contribute to

“The Matter of Technology”- presentation and panel discussion at ISEA12 on Friday September 21st 1:15 – 2:30 at the ABQ Hotel, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

SMARTlab as Claire says “does some really cool stuff”. So together we’ve put together a 15mins power point presentation in which Claire speaks live and I speak via mp3 audio.

The communications technology we habitually use as we work together in our respective rural home places in Devon and New Mexico solve the BIG problem of time and distance. We use Skype for live chats and conversations, dropbox for file sharing and google docs for scripts, idea development, feedback and schedules. Technology enables our project outcomes to travel out to you in your own homes and workplaces wherever you are in the world. (blog hits from 66 Nations in last 90 days) via Radia FM live-streaming, local community radio, our blogsites and website. 

But though technology is the solution to some of the BIG challenges many of us face, often our present-day technologies disconnect us from our environments and sometimes even from our own bodies!

While these technologies protect our bank accounts and the environment from frequent plane rides to and from each other’s home places, too much “screen time”  gives us “square eyes” and makes us feel pretty lousy.

And as Anita flags up in her own presentation online devices and storage systems have a carbon footprint all of their own and are dependent on non-renewable rare earth minerals.

So we are constantly working on how to balance lifestyle with the goals of our arts practice and the screen time required to share our work with diverse audiences. Really absolutely  nothing replaces face to face contact. And our live events are irreplaceable as a potent means of sharing projects with participant audiences.

Some of our best ideas come while we are on the hoof interacting with people, places and things and experimenting to discover how the creativity of our prehistoric ancestors shapes our contemporary cultures.

To be continued….. in our ” The lure of radio” blog on 28th October

Radio Dreaming Goes International

Radio Dreaming, Episode 1: Dreams, Food and the Edible Landscape.

  • August 20th – 27th, Radia broadcasts on 24 Radio stations around the world at www.radia.fm
  • Tuesday, 21st August, 1 pm GMT – SoundArt Radio, 102.5 fm Dartington and live streaming at www.soundartradio.org.uk
  • Friday, 31st August, 8:30 am MDT – KRZA, 88.7 fm, Alamosa/Taos and live streaming at www.krza.org
  • Listen to the entire Episode 1 anytime HERE!

Montréal, Berlin, Dublin, Melbourne, London, New York – During the week of August 20th Radia FM listeners around the world will be tuning into Radio Dreaming Episode 1: Dreams, Food and the Edible Landscape. One year ago contemporary artists Anna Keleher (English Riviera Geoopark, Devon, England) and Claire Coté (New Mexico, USA) were busy “DREAMING PLACE” at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark in Éire and Northern Ireland. Now, an international audience can share their sonic adventures via a series of radio broadcasts woven from their experience. Based on an ancient Celtic tradition that the land remembers everything, Radio Dreaming explores how the land speaks through dreamers.

“DREAMING PLACE is about deepening and illuminating our relationship with Place and we are excited to be sharing our project with audiences around the globe. Radio is an exciting medium that enables artists to reach people in their own homes or cars, in cities, small towns or very rural settings,” says Claire Coté.

In this first Radio Dreaming episode, listeners are invited to join Anna and Claire wild camping, eating, drawing, walking and kayaking their way through the Geopark to meet its people, places, creatures and things. Episode 1 features stories, conversations and soundscapes of dreams, food, and edible geopark landscapes.

“Our broadcast gives protagonism to the diverse voices of these Geopark homelands. We really hope that Radio Dreaming will inspire others to listen and share stories in their own homeplaces,” says Anna Keleher.

This summer Geopark Artist Anna Keleher has been gathering stories closer to home. Funded by National Lottery through Arts Council England, her film short The Ballad of Berry Head  may be enjoyed at the Guardhouse visitor Centre projection room, Berry
Head National Nature Reserve. Anna began her successful international collaborative partnership with Claire in 2007 at Dartington College of Art on the innovative MA Arts and Ecology. Together they continue to make audio journeys, radio broadcasts, drawings,
sculptural installations and performative events, transcending the miles through internet technologies. The only thing they can’t share is a pot of tea!

Radio Dreaming Episode 1 is broadcasting on Soundart Radio (Dartington) and Riviera FM (Torbay) Devon, as well as KRZA Radio (Colorado/New Mexico) USA and twenty-four Radia FM stations around the world.

The future in a lough, climate modelling

Bodies of water have been places of augury and insight since time immemorial but now there is a new twist to the tale and lough Nabrickboy is revealing qualities that predict the future. Martina from Marble Arch Caves Geopark explains ….

Radio Dreaming Episode 1 is here!


We are oh-so-pleased to share Radio Dreaming Episode 1 with you all! It is called “Dreams, Food and the Edible Landscape.”

Listen to the entire radio program here.

This first episode of our Radio Dreaming series will debut on air in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark on Cavan Community Radio 97.4 fm, today, Thursday 21st of June at 2:40 pm, GMT. Other broadcasts are also scheduled for this summer. If you can’t catch the program on air, we invite you to listen to the entire radio program here at our blog.

Our evolving broadcast schedule can be viewed here and the Radio Dreaming press release can be viewed here.

Many thanks to all the people, places, creatures and things at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark for teaching us about DREAMING PLACE. And special thanks to those that contributed to this program and helped make it possible in a myriad of ways.

Please let us know of any radio stations that might be interested in broadcasting Radio Dreaming! More Radio Dreaming episodes are in the works so stay tuned….

We hope you enjoy listening and look forward to your feedback.

Inside the belly of an ice-house – Crom Estate

Ice houses are to be found in the grounds of many of the old country estates in these Northern lands. Here is Claire at the Crom Estate in Northern Ireland inside the belly of an ice-house.

About Ice houses – Ice cut in winter was stored right through the year in stone icehouses across Europe supplying numerous big houses with fresh produce and keeping guests happy with novel sorbets, icecreams and crushed ice for cocktails and bumps or sprains got while out hunting the stag!

Today fridges are present in every kitchen – well almost. When I lived in Spain we didn’t have a fridge; we are vegetarians so it was easy. The micro-organisms in plain yogurt keep it fresh for weeks and the cool tiles and wooden shutters protected the veg from decay.

In the last century before the advent of the fridge, many families used cool boxes or chests packed with ice to keep meat and fish. The pantry or larder had marble shelves to keep dairy produce and cold meats fresh as long as possible. My mum tells me the cooling properties of her mother’s  larder were enhanced by covering the milk jug with a wet cloth. The milk was kept cool via evaporation. In Spain water kept in unglazed “porons ” keeps spring water fountain fresh even on the hottest days. When camping beers maybe kept cold by hanging them out of the window in wet socks! Or submerging them in the stream.

Margaret Gallagher, of Mullylusty cottage just outside Boho in the Marble Arch Caves Geopark lives off grid all year round. She tells us that a wheelie bin makes a wonderful off grid fridge which keeps hungry animals out in winter-time. But can the wheelie bin be as effective as a giant crock? Kept wet a ceramic jar will keep milk and other foods fresh in hot climates again by evaporation. Buried underground it could be used to store root vegetables like potatoes and turnips.

Margaret tells us how her family used an ordinary chest to preserve meat. After the pig had been butchered the pieces were packed into a wooden chest with salt and buried in a surprising place. The place of choice at Mullylusty and other cottages was usually the dung heap or midden . We didn’t ask Margaret why this was so, but archaeological evidence reveals middens as natural insulators, valued for their properties of conservation. Evidence from Skara Brae in Orkney shows the homes were actually built inside an enormous midden!

BOG BUTTER – Not sure if all of  you know this but past peoples apparently buried butter in wooden kegs in bogs. But how far back in prehistory was it that the original peoples of Ireland first used bogs as fridges. Who first understood that bogs can preserve fats? Micro-organisms that cause food to go off can’t dwell inside a soggy shroud of bog turf as they need oxygen to survive, this is why a bog performs as a brilliant off grid-fridge. In Ireland much ancient bog butter has been found over the years and some of it is still edible, if a bit cheesy.

Romantic or premonitionary?

Listen here to our fears for the Geopark and decide for yourself – are our words romantic indulgence or premonition?

A very big and real threat now hangs over “our” Geopark and its beloved people, places and things. A license has been issued to the powerful mining company, Tamboran Resources, for the extraction of shale gas within the Geopark using the controversial process of “fracking.”

Far from Ireland Claire and I have been blogging away without doing anything until one day we realised that some of the most precious nature reserves are threatened along with the fresh water supply and clean air. We have written to Fermanagh Councillors with our concerns. Read our letter and the responses of individuals here –  Dear Anna and Claire.

We agree with Councilor, Barry Doherty, (Sinn Fein) for Erne West when he says “We have so much natural beauty above and below the ground in this part of the world that to even contemplate fracking this area is surprising if not down right crazy.”

We  join present inhabitants, organisations and councilors in demanding a moratorium on the license so that the Geopark vision keeps strong and the people, places and things of all Ireland remain vital and alive.

Find out more about fracking and the MAC Geopark here and how you can get involved here.

Pigment Potentials


During our decent hike from Cuilcagh Mountain, we came across these red ochre-like pigments crumbling out of the hillside. As erosion reveals this intense color it also reveals potentials of the past, present and future. As we study the pigments and muse at their uses, questions arise.

Were these pigments used by the past inhabitants of this land? In particular, did the Bronze Age people who built the mighty cairn atop Cuilcagh (see image below) discover these pigments and intern find uses for them in their lives? Read more pigment musings and about the geology of Culcaigh mountain at the end of Anna’s previous informative post, Geology United!

Our Geopark ancestors (audio)

We cycled to an old church up the lane near our campsite at Holywell, Belcoo. Listen here as we speak the names of the local ancestors from the headstones into our handheld audio recorder.

Now we read local home place names of the Geopark ancestors and though some of them are by now familiar we can’t help our mispronunciations – do excuse!

Maps and DREAMING PLACE


Map: a visual representation of an area; a symbolic depiction
highlighting relationships between
elements such as objects, regions, and themes.
As you can imagine, maps were important on our DREAMING PLACE
traveling residency, in more than one way!

We often depended on them to be shown places and information by others and to navigate roadways, paths, fields, parks and estates.

We mapped our journey in sound and in drawing and in some ways on this blog. We also discussed creating interactive maps as an outcome from the residency. These maps may still be on the way….stay tuned!

But there is really something special about maps that draw on senses other than sight for their creation or perception. Here is one example……

Marshallese stick chart, called rebbilib in Marshallese,
marks the islands and major wave patterns of the Marshalls

“…Marshallese navigational charts are not like our western-style maps; fishermen didn’t use them to measure distance or count miles. Instead, they used them as memory aids, reviewing them before a journey but not bringing them along. It is said that a fishermen would study his charts, leave them behind, and then lie on his back in the canoe, the better to feel the rise and fall of the ocean swells. He interpreted the map with his body memory, not with his eyes.”

Read the blog post about rebbilib by Sue Fierston in its entirety here.

Audio footprints in the lough

Creative ideas can be illusive. If you approach them too quickly or too directly, they may turn tail and be lost. But like wild creatures they can be lured from their hideouts if conditions are favorable, perhaps at a particular time of day by a special treat. A ritual pot of tea, a piece of music, the sound of a waterfall or a beautiful pattern.

It may be enough to go outdoors and sit on a tree stump to allow the ideas to flow. It’s  exciting to consider some of the forms and patterns we observe outdoors have companion patterns inside our bodies;, the swirl on our finger tips, the filigree of veins and in the very patterns of our lives and relationships.

So enjoy your shower or walk the edge of the lough and let the bubbles rise.

These Dreaming Place audio footprints were recorded at the watery edge of Lough McNean, Marble Arch Caves Geopark.

Landscape of Abandoned Dreams


In our wanderings through the landscapes of the Marble Arch Caves Geopark, we came across many incredible decaying homesteads, architectural remnants of abandoned dreams left to be reclaimed by plants, land, water and weather.


This “forgotten dreams” phenomenon seems more evident here
than any other place that either of us have been before.
The land seems saturated with it.


Abandoned farm equipment, the most modern and desirable in its day,
rusts in its final resting place, chumming up with the local flora.


It is as if abandoned architecture and belongings continue
to poignantly describe the cycles of history:
“better days” along with famine, economic hardship, immigration and
the forgotten dreams of this place.

Mother of the landscape


Claire has a moment of revelation beside the waters of Poll Sumera, a magical place on the lower slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain. It is here that the waters that gather in the folds of the mountain’s flanks disappear into a labrynthine network of underground rivers to re-emerge sometime later at the fabled birthplace of the famous River Shannon; Shannon Pot.

About peat, turf and bog

swallower of memories

preserver of peace

bringer of luck

bog pantry

enemy of speed

ice-age daughter

black soap

famine food

giver of light

fuel of home fires

inland sea

body warmer

cure for weepiness

preserver of memories

moth repellent

friend of farts

adds spring to your step

a growing medium

birthplace of bogeyman

dark snow

lazy bed maker

baffler

mossy grave

placid muffler

mother of bogs

What is your dream egg? *audio*

Dream Egg and Nest created by Rae Dunn

In some ways, dreams are like eggs. After they are “laid”, given time, the right conditions, care, attention and incubation, they may hatch! The New Year is an apropos time to identify and reflect on one’s Dream Egg(s). We’d love to hear about them! (Dream Eggs can be shared in the comments field below.)

During our traveling residency in the MAC Geopark we embarked upon a dream “egg hunt”, a detective game of sorts to find dreams hiding in unexpected places.

Margaret Gallagher shared this beauty of a dream with us over a lovely breakfast at her thatched cottage.

Listen below to hear about her “dream egg” close at hand:

Beleek, Belcoo, Burren…

Beleek,

Belcoo, Boho,

Burren, Butlers bridge, Blacklion,

Ballin Tempo, Belturbet, Boa Island,

Cavan, Cliffs of Magho, Crom, Cuilcach Mountain,

Dowra, Derryvore, Derrygonnelly,

Galloon , Gortatole, Glangevlin

Killykeegen, Knockninny,

Letterbreen, Monae,

Swanlinbar,

Aisling

A girl with hooped earrings, a building, a close or a house. Aisling (pronounced ashling) is a beautiful name for all these.  We asked people of Marble Arch Caves Geopark what Aisling means to them…

This description by Burren expert Seamus O’ hUltacháin,  particularly describes the Irish language word Aisling.

What does Aisling mean to you?

Blogs grow like potatoes

This blog has been a long time in a comin´ and that’s because I grew it.

To grow my potato blog I followed some basic steps. the rest down to luck, weather and  patience. It’s taken quite a while to get to this point , mainly ‘cos of all that hard work and the waiting. I had to……..

1. nourish

2. dig

3. furrow

4. plant

5. water

6. mulch

7. earth up

8.wait

9.harvest

10. prepare

11. cook

12. eat

A long time ago a Slovenian man called Franci, a student of Mark’s  suggested I apply my novel research techniques to”the potato”. It is still really important to Eastern European cultures and  I am a researcher of  the agency of things. Let me explain a bit more about how that might work.

The humble potato is a masterful at affecting  human behaviours; it  gathers  culture around itself in a big way, as does say “alcohol” or “the sea”. The potato is the perfect thing he said to study. So far I have not done more than to scrub a potato, cut it up to boil or bake it. I love to eat it whole or mashed with olive oil and black pepper. But who knows. In Ireland as everyone knows the potato is very important and no-one on the island can ever forget the terrible consequences of the potato blight.

In Ireland we ferried  potatoes around in the car back and forth over the border and dipped our fingers into glasses of poitín, the infamous  Irish hooch. I feel a new blog coming on….  but I’ll leave it for another day.

The power of blogs

We never expected off-grid blogging to be easy, but it turned out to be the single most challenging aspect of our trip.

Little lakes inside our tents, patchy mobile connection, no running water, no loo, rampant jet lag, hip injury, but electric plugs – oh please….

Our hungry laptops had us struggling to provide. Without power we feared they would become weak and easily die.

We had pondered the off-grid dilemma long and hard. Claire lives off-grid year round at her home in New Mexico; so surely it isn’t such a big deal. She and Chris collect energy from the sun and store it in underfloor batteries for use as electricity around the home.  Wi-fi  and the sun allow Claire and I to work together, despite her off-grid-ness  and our many degrees of separation. These technological advances help us keep our collaboration alive.

Soft folding dashboard solar panels might keep our laptops charged, but would they work in such a resolutely unsunny climate ? And what of bike power…. it works for making smoothies and projections so might pedal power keep our cameras, laptops and blogging practice alive?

In the end we opted to plug-in at Marble Arch Caves Geopark HQ, council offices, campsites and country hotels and used a wee dashboard plug (little inverter in the cigarette lighter) for on-the-go top-ups between charging locations.

Blogs are an ideal way to record, share and reflect on project adventures. And we shared DREAMING PLACE with family, friends and a world wide audience….. veraciously!

Keeping the hardware topped up became a matter of supreme importance. Should we make supper, sleep, experiment, search for a plug-in or make connections?

We are the first to admit that blogging got a bit out of hand… this time… and we did it in the face of significant adversity – Our dongle rarely worked, so that was a waste of money, we were operating in mobile-coverage shadowlands in the X – border zone, hoteliers were mean to us, the Geopark HQ were kind but couldn’t share their internet and we were miles from the nearest cyber cafe…  yet we blogged and blogged and blogged.

Is pigeon post a viable alternative?

No. 22 Dreaming Place data sheet drawing


Dream food vision (audio)

Food became central to our adventure and led to sometimes profound thoughts – in this case about animals dreaming.

Hazel cultures

A good way to discover more about prehistoric life  in Marble Arch Caves Geopark is to focus in on the edible elements of place. You can learn a lot, from ingesting, observing and dreaming with plants and things. As a Northern European its a fair guess to say that my ancestors learnt a lot from their interactions with the land. I know it’s obvious,  but its easy to forget that plants have actually helped shaped our cultures. Claire’s family is also of European decent, but she was born in New Mexico where prehistoric peoples have also eaten acorns, piñones and hazel nuts. Claire and I look, listen, experiment and dream to find out more about our prehistoric ancestors and their worlds. We kicked off our

collaboration while studying at Dartington with a “Eating Time Taming Food”  a wide ranging adventure into prehistoric Dartmoor Food ecologies. We  gathered, prepared, cooked and shared wild foods. It was really challenging for us as we were trail blazing our a new Arts and Ecology practice… .. but what d’you know while we were out collecting acorns and worms were gathering in our leaching sacks, Ray Mears was doing the self same thing on Telly, imagine that….Out of the BLUE! processing acorns for food after hundreds of years of culinary neglect!

Neither Claire nor I had telly and we didn’t know about Ray Mears ’till friends and neighbours told us. Only difference was we were making ART and gathering audio sounds! We ended our acorn harvest with a grand tea party at The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World in Haldon forest Park, where our guests feasted on acorn and honey cake spread with butter churned using the motion of our gait and other ancestral foods.

In DREAMING PLACE at MAC we crunched  hawthorn leaves at Shannon Pot, made  wild garlic pesto and when Hazel reached out and attracted our attention, we whittled its flexible boughs into knives. Hazel is as full to bursting with dynamic potentials which Claire and I are eager to explore. And Hazel’s story is many patterned, it helped with the invention of tents, looms and snow shoes. The first people’s living in these northern climes after the great ice melt collected its tasty fruits to store for the winter months and Hazel protected and sustained them.

What baskets were woven to carry the canny hazel nut and what futures did it predict?

Listen here to Biodiversity Officer, Rose Cremin enthuse about hazel culture

The kissing tree

Did you ever hear trees kissing?

As Claire approached an overgrown hedge in the Killykeegan Nature reserve a strange sound wrapped around her ears. She called me over and we listened as two Hawthorn branches kissed.  Listen here to the sounds we heard..

Campsite philosophers

We find that campsites cultivate philosophy. Rushin House Caravan Park on the emerald shores of Lough MacNean just outside Belcoo in the Marble Arch Caves Geopark is awash with the stuff. It runs so deep that in times gone by the inhabitants sensibly build their houses on stilts. The shimmering waters of the lough preserve the oak timbers of a bronze age homestead. Perched on its artificial island or crannog its inhabitants were safe from the erratic surges of philosophy that are prone to flood this special landscape.

Listen here to our favourite Campsite philosophers, Barb and Len from Calgary, Canada..