“TURBET ISLAND DREAMSCAPE TRAIL, BELTURBET, CO. CAVAN
The Dreamscape trail is a wonderful outdoor art exhibition of prints and fairy sculptures that will remain on permanent display on Turbet Island. The trail features a series of 13 new prints by local artist Jackie O’Neill, her illustrations are also in the bird boxes dotted around the walk. (made by the Belturbet Men’s Shed) and a series of charming three-dimensional creatures from The Celtic Fairy Collection. The fairies are called a Know Me, each one unique. They have come to the island to remind us to know our surroundings, know the history of this shared space, know your values and look after the environment you come to visit.
Just like Turbet Island which was once a Mott & Bailey, the Know Me fairy is very unique to Belturbet. It’s their first place to do a staycation!!
The artist statement best explains what the artwork on the island is all about;
Early on in my research local man, Sean Mc Elgunns writing struck a chord with me. He captured in words so eloquently the magnificent mystery of this land he grew up in and its people.
“The first people to come up the River Erne carried the genes of our first parents. They lie buried in the soil we walk on, they flow in our veins, and their ghosts haunt our dreams and speak in our songs. History and memory preserves for the rest of us and for the generations yet unborn, the memories of our dead and of their and our town. Captured and preserved before all have floated away back down the river of time again. The most astounding fact of all life on earth is that we are all immortal. ”
I have compiled my research for this trail by interviewing local characters. I worked alongside historian George Morrissey, read local folklore/ mythology & of course spent time observing the land with the assistance of Ecologist Heather Bothwell and bird watcher Derek Belton.
Then came the creative part: At this point my research developed new life through line and colour. The original artwork for this project has all been developed with watercolour paintings combined with pen/ ink sketches. These lines and colours went on to take the shape of Dreamscapes. Throughout this research and work I have been influenced by the surrealist movement, particularly Salvador Dali and Hieronymus Bosch. The composition on this particular piece has been greatly inspired by Bosch’s centre panel on his famous triptych masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights.
What is a dreamscape?
In the dictionary the word dreamscape means “A landscape or scene with the strangeness or mystery characteristic of dreams.”
For me the word dreamscape indicates that land itself is bigger than words and pictures. In my dreamscapes timelines become juxtaposed, dreams and reality collide to create something new. It is something intangible! This is where we can explore nature, consciousness, history, tragedy, loss, local characteristics, ancient mythology and of course imagination.
I hope in my artwork that I have created passage ways for the viewer to re-discover the ancient River Erne, the historic Turbet Island with its Motte and Bailey, the colourful characters that created this place and who continue to shape it today. It has been such a pleasure for me to work on the local stories and myths and to make artwork that is inspired by the wonderful people and place that is Belturbet. Thank you to all who contributed to the work.”
Image Credit Jackie O'Neill
Our trail is part of the PROJECT Belturbet, PEACE IV funding that promotes positive relations through respect, and where cultural diversity is celebrated and people can live, learn and socialise together, free from prejudice, hate and intolerance. This was achieved by building a trail that involved cross-community and cross border groups coming together and working in collaboration with Artist Jackie O’Neill - Dotti Was A Deer-, Belturbet Men’s Shed, Colm Mullen and The Celtic Fairy Collection.
There is something for everyone on The Turbet Island Dreamscape Trail. Did you know the Woolly Mammoth once walked along this Geo Park site? Look very closely and you will find the woolly Mammoth back on Turbet Island....make sure you #TurbetIslandDreamscapeTrail to let us know you came to visit!