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Visit from Nealie (Post) O’Sullivan

Nealie (Post) O’Sullivan and his wife Veronica joined our art session at Castletownbere Community Hospital on Tuesday 28th June, to talk with the residents about Nealie’s recent book, Living on the Edge, Life on the Beara Shores in 2019.

We’ve been reading Nealie’s book at our weekly art session, a chapter a week, and we love it! It is written with such wit and humour and good nature; it has us all both rapt and in stitches! You’ll see delighted smiles breaking out on people’s faces at Nealie’s hilarious stories of his own antics and his neighbour’s antics over the years; and of course most of the residents at St Joseph’s were personally acquainted with the people Nealie writes about and they love the local flavour (Nealie was born and bred in nearby Allihies, and he has lived there all his life). The residents share with Nealie his knowledge and his love of sea and mountains, they walked the same boreens and daily life was lived surrounded by the same fields and farm animals, so Nealie’s stories are very close to their own lived experience, and close to their heart.

Nealie told us he just wrote the book as he talks – it wrote itself. This has given great encouragement to the residents as we‘ve been gathering stories at our art sessions too, and we have a plan to weave them into a map of Beara to be painted as a mural on a large indoor wall in the hospital – watch this space!

We showed Nealie and Veronica a selection of the artworks the residents make at our sessions and they were very impressed by the experimental nature of these artworks. Nealie demonstrated his own technique by doing a quick colour sketch of a landscape which we’ll certainly be taking inspiration from.

The painting shown here is by one of the residents, it reminded Nealie of the folds and furrows of the landscape and of the many colours you see in the hedgerows in early summer.

Written by Bénédicte Coleman, an artist on the Arts for Health West Cork artist team.