Intersection – A talk with Liam O’Neill.

– Intersection –

a talk with 


“The only constant in life’s change. Change happens in a person’s life on a daily basis, small steps we hardly notice from day to day. This was my boyhood in Corca Dhuibhne.

When I was young, change came to Corca Dhuibhne in fits and starts. That change was caused mostly by arrivals and departures. The biggest force for change was ‘departures’. Over the years there was hardly a house in our locality that didn’t suffer from emigration.

Landscape, despite its seasons, hardly changed from age to age. The rugged landscape of West Kerry was constant. When I was growing up modernisation was still unknown.The plough was pilled by a horse, the cart by a pony,. Turf was cut with a slean; milking was by hand; there was no outboard motor. So the rugged landscape and the mighty sea provided for us all, defined us all.

Since coming back to live here, I can see clearly. I can now see that the filming of Ryan’s Daughter brought the beginnings of change. After that a way of life that had been traditional to the locality was under threat. The language that had celebrated that way of life was under threat. A way of life that had been there for generations was suddenly like a soft part of a headland; modernisation was like coastal erosion.

In this exhibition I want to celebrate that way of life. I want to salute a generation of ordinary people who have become heroes in my memory. Living in the locality once more has sharpened my understanding of life my father’s time. In a way, I am trying to do with paint what Tomás Ó’Croimhthain did with words. I want to salute a special generation because “ní bheidh a leithéidí arís ann”.

– Liam O’ Neill –