Speculative Optimism is poetic essayistic film produced and directed by Deirdre O'Mahony. The film is based on research in the  University of Reading’s Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) archives during the Wellcome Trust Livestock Residency. Read More

The Persistent Return Film Still Chuno in Hand Photograph Tom Flanagan 2016
  1. The Persistent Return Film Still Photograph Tom Flanagan 2016.

    The SPUD project emerged at X-PO began at X-PO in 2009 and has resulted in collaborative projects, artworks, events and installations both in Ireland and internationally. At X-PO conversations often revolve around ways of growing food, particularly potatoes and the extent and depth of tacit cultivation knowledge shared by some farmers resulted in the SPUD research. A film, The Persistent Return, will mark the concluding phase of the project and will be exhibited in 2018 at Visual Carlow.
  2. Perishable Picnic, Peig McManus Performance, Photograph Brian Cregan 2017. The Perishable Picnic was the outcome of Deirdre O’Mahony’s residency in Lynders’ Mobile Home Park, Portrane County Dublin for Fingal Arts Office’s Resort Residency and celebrated the history of fruit growing in North County Dublin. A giant ceramic, strawberry jam pot made by Glasgow-based artist Garnet McCulloch was the centrepiece for a feast of strawberry foods, drinks, and conversation about the history of fruit farming in the area with a particular focus on Quaker Farming practices, ethics and investment in the area and an industry that once played an important role in the local economy and community.
  3. Preparing a fire pit for cooking SPUD harvest IMMA Photograph Deirdre O'Mahony 2016

    Research for SPUD began in 2009 beginning a process of enquiry that led to collaborative projects, commissioned artworks, events and installations in Ireland, Europe and north Africa from 2011- 15. A film, The Persistent Return marks the concluding phase of the project and will tour in 2018 starting at Visual Carlow.
  4. Kathleen Lynn was a political activist, suffragette and pioneering doctor who established the first Children’s Hospital in Ireland. She was also the only female commander during the Easter Rising in 1916. The celebrations for the centenary of an event that promised equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, gave an opportunity to look back at politics of people like Kathleen Lynn, who played a key role in founding the Irish State. Deirdre O’Mahony was invited to make a work celebrating Kathleen Lynn for Mayo’s Centenary celebrations. Kathleen Lynn's voice was revived through social media and combined with images from the Royal College of Physicians archive to reflect on healthcare issues that continue to play out in Ireland within the State system.

The Persistent Return 

A film-based artwork commissioned by Callan Workhouse Union and funded with generous support from The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíonn. The film marks the concluding phase of the SPUD project and will be exhibited in June 2018 at Visual Carlow, and in October in the Natural History Museum, Leuwaarden, part of the 2018 European Capital of Culture Programme.

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Dromoher, Kilnaboy, Co. Clare, Ireland