Residents and staff at Castletownbere Community Hospital have spent the summer working alongside Arts for Health Artist Michael Greenlaw to create this beautiful map of Beara mural.
The idea for the project came from a staff member following the completion of a new activities room and dining room at the hospital. As is often the case with brand new facilities, the spaces lacked a personal touch.
The staff member suggested that the mural might soften and humanise the new development, while also allowing residents and staff to develop a connection to the art by suggesting place names and images to include.
Michael said the project has been a great way to initiate conversation and storytelling, with residents sharing stories about fishing boats named ater people, sheep dogs and pets, and the local GAA team, the Magpies! Michael noted, “One of my best moments on the mural was early on, just after the outline of the map had been painted in, when I came in one day to find the mural covered in small images of the local area – gleaned from the internet; this was a great example of how the mural could be an interactive experience.”
Arts for Health Musician Ecki Krupp joined for a couple of sessions. He sang local songs relevant to places mentioned in the mural, and chatted with the residents about other tunes that might connect to the piece. Ecki sang the favourite song of one resident, “Why Paddy’s Not at Work Today,” and residents shared stories of long days working at the Lauragh sawmill and on the railways in Britain.
Michael said of the final piece, “The mural is practically endless and additions could continue to be made after chatting with residents and staff. Hopefully this legacy project will stimulate pride in the area, as well as being something attractive to look at.
I thank the hospital staff for their input and enthusiasm, Arts for Health Artist Bénédicte Coleman who laid the foundations for the project and provided important links between residents and myself, for Arts for Health Musician Ecki Krupp who contributed to the wonderful happy atmosphere during painting sessions and to the residents themselves who are providing the content of the map mural.”