24 Aug 2017

Setanta Wall - The Shunning of Pagan Ireland in Modern Times

Just off Nassau Street in Dublin is a small car park which contains one of Ireland's most superb and beautiful modern artworks, and one which is often hidden behind parked cars, vans and trucks.

A huge and beautifully rendered mosaic mural by Ulster artist Desmond Kinney created in 1974. Also known as the Táin Wall. Millions of tourists visit Dublin every year and never view it. Many Dubliners do not know it even exists.

I first came across the work by accident when I was 17. I was attending a school event in a building across from it and the school teacher did not even bother to bring the class outside to see this stunning piece of modern art depicting the great mythological epic of ancient Ireland. Even from an early age, the scale and execution of the piece impressed me greatly. 

The Táin Bó Cuailnge, or the Cattle Raid of Cooley, tells a story set over 2000 years ago, in a saga whereby Cú Chulainn single-handedly defends Ulster against an invasion by Queen Meabh of Connacht, whose army is attempting to steal the Brown Bull of Cooley. Images depict all the scenes told in the mythology, as well as showing representations of the gods and goddesses of ancient Ireland in deep, strong colours and reliefs.

The mosaic should be removed and placed within a public park/space where sunlight and natural shadows can bring out the full beauty of the piece. Ireland is covered in religious statues of the foreign Middle Eastern Christian death cult saints and so on, and yet, something that represents our own national, cultural and spiritual heritage is hidden down an alleyway forgotten and neglected. 

The title of the work and the name of the artist is not even mentioned at the location. Which is somewhat concerning as there seems to be something of an agenda in Dublin to play down Desmond Kinney's artistic legacy. Removal of some of his most important works, including this other forgotten piece have taken place.

 Photos by Thomas Sheridan


Unknown said...

Totally amazing - beautiful work of art - it demands more attention from the media and highlighted more as a tourist attraction -

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and epic work of art. It's hard enough to rediscover my irish heritage here in america. to hear that it is being suppressed even in ireland saddens me greatly.