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A Memory of Water

min read

A Memory of Water

min read


A Memory of Water

Iontas Arts Community Artist in Residence Orlagh Meegan-Gallagher has created a multi-sensory art project based on her work as a seascape and waterscape artist called A Memory of Water.

Originally conceived in the first lockdowns, the project is specifically designed to work through the staff from nursing homes and day care centres in order to deliver a series of carefully planned activities, using Visual, Auditory, Oral and Tactile stimulus to inspire art making. Always themed around the sea, rivers and lakes, Orlagh brings the beauty, calm and tranquility of these places into nursing homes and day care centres. To date she has worked with the residents of Lorgan House (Dementia Unit) St. Mary’s Nursing Home in 2020 and Killanny House (mixed unit) Castleross Nursing Home in 2021 and this year she has worked with 2 venues… St. Anne’s Nursing Home Ballybay and Cloughvalley Day Care Centre Carrickmacross, (run by Alzheimers Society of Ireland).

Orlagh works through nursing home’s or day care centres’ Social Activities Coordinators, so that changing covid restrictions do not impede the delivery of the project and instead supports staff, introducing new approaches to making art and the  use of a wide variety of materials so that, even after the project is finished the staff can continue to use the skills acquired to enhance the art experience for all those in their care.

The project culminates in an exhibition of the residents’ and daycare users’ work alongside Orlagh’s own work. This year there will be 2 exhibitions one in Ballybay and the other in Carrickmacross and the artists, for the first time since covid began, can attend the openings. Besides the obvious benefit to the artists who will see their work displayed in an exhibition, opened by the Mayor, in the local newspapers and given the pride of place it deserves, the exhibitions also challenge peoples’ perspectives about older age and ability. Orlagh has proven over and over, that anyone, no matter what their situation, can create beautiful art if given the chance and appropriate support.

Each year Orlagh makes a short film about the project with Darren Finn, videographer and Fintan Gallagher, musician and this will be released on Iontas Theatre’s YouTube channel after the exhibition openings in October.

Orlagh says she could not take on such a huge undertaking without the support from Creative Monaghan, who not only funds the project through their Creativity in Older Age programme, but also, she says, has an innate understanding and respect for the artist/ facilitator.  “Their support and acknowledgement that the project is all the richer because I am a practicing artist is vital as through creating my own work I am energized and therefore able to better share that energy and passion for art with others”

After the exhibitions Orlagh artwork will be gifted to the nursing home and day centre so that there is a permanent reminder of the project. Orlagh hopes that her serene seascapes will continue to bring calm and beauty into these spaces long after the project ends.

At all times the soul of this project is to enhance daily life and the well-being of the residents in nursing homes and day care centres through art.


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