Arbour Hill Plot print and Dead Horse print at Little Stories Little Prints
Little Stories Little Prints launched their yearlong programme of exhibitions workshops at the Little Museum of Dublin, Stephen’s Green, Dublin on Saturday 16th January. Fifty printmakers from eight Printmaking Studios around Ireland accepted an invitation to participate in the project, which aims to create awareness of little known events or incidents during or around the time of the Easter Rising in 1916. The artists researched incidents and aspects of life at the time and created little prints in response to their research. The project will tour libraries and venues in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Cork, Galway and Donegal during the year. The project has been organised and coordinated by studio member Pamela de Brí, assisted by Studio Manager Margaret Becker. I was delighted to be invited to participate in this innovative project. Here are the accompanying stories for my two editioned prints.
Arbour Hill Plot, Drypoint, 1/20, Claire Halpin, 2015
On the orders of General Maxwell, 14 leaders of the Rising were executed from 3-12th May 1916. The bodies of the executed men, certified dead, a name label pinned to their breast were brought to Arbour Hill in a horse-drawn vehicle where a mass burial plot had been dug in the prison yard. Maxwell was determined that the bodies of the executed men would not be released to their families –he feared that “Irish sentimentality will turn those graves into martyrs’ shrines to which annual processions etc will be made. [Hence] the executed rebels are to be buried in quicklime, without coffins”.
A British Army officer witnessing the burials made a sketch notating where the bodies were placed in the grave. This sketch is in the National Archives in London. I became aware of this sketch through a tour of Arbour Hill with historian Paul O’Brien. I was struck that a drawing of such significance and weight is unknown and has disappeared into the archives.
A Dead Horse, Drypoint, 1/20, Claire Halpin 2015
This story is one my mother has often told me of her mother –
My mother had experienced unemployment, tenement living and poverty, common to many living in north inner city 1900’s Dublin. Tailoring was her job but work was scarce. She would be classed as an alteration hand and collected garments for adjustments. These were done at home in Mountjoy Square and returned completed to various outfitters – Kingstons, O’Beirne and Fitzgibbon etc. It was on her way to work on Tuesday morning 24th April 1916 that she became aware of something strange afoot in Dublin. On that particular morning as she rounded the corner from Parnell St. onto O’Connell St. walking towards Findlaters, she saw a dead horse on the road. As she told it herself “her dream was out” – attaching great significance to the recent ominous dream she had had of a fallen horse. This is how she first became aware of the unfolding events of the 1916 Rising. – Máirín Halpin (neé Taylor)
Email: email@example.com Phone: 087 6616863
Press Release: 1916 commemorative project Press Release
Exhibition Invitation: Invite littlestorieslittleprints
Paul O’Brien, Historian: http://www.paulobrienauthor.ie/