Na hOileánaigh

Artist Name(s) Éamonn O'Doherty
Artwork title Na hOileánaigh
Context/Background Inisturk, “island of the wild boar”, is a small island off the south west coast of Mayo in Clew Bay. At present the population is approximately 85 people, with ten children in the local school, while older children travel to Louisburgh to attend post primary school. The island is about eight miles from the mainland and steeped in history and early settlers include St. Colombia. A mining company wished to mine the vein of gold runs through Inisturk, but the local community preferred to leave it untouched in order to preserve the beauty and ruggedness of their landscape.

The holy island of Caher, one mile away, is owned and preserved by the people of Inisturk. Each year a pilgrimage to Casher is held on 15th August. The sea has always been the main source of survival for the island and the local fishermen are renowned for the quality of their shellfish catch, particularly lobster and crab. The island also boasts a long tradition of currach building. Farming and fishing make up the main source of income on the island.

Sculptor Eamonn O’ Doherty was commissioned by Mayo County Council in 2006 to produce a sculpture for the Island of Inishturk. During consultation with the people of the Island they expressed a preference for a figurative sculpture, taking into consideration their lifestyle (past and present), the importance of the sea, and the heritage of the island.

The sculpture, Na hOileánaigh, is a 2 meter bronze concave dish representing the sea and the horizon; a currach floats over the void as over the depths of the ocean. The dish itself is reminiscent of the basic form of the currach and also forms a “mappa mundi” of the Islanders world.


Eamonn O'Doherty (1939 - 2011) was best known for his large-scale public sculptures, thirty of which stand in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Among these are landmark works such as the , the Anna Livia Fountain The trajectory of his piece for the median on O'Connell St, "Anna Livia" was heavily featured in a TV documentary "Whose Art is it Anyway" produced by Wildfire Films in 2010, very shortly before he died.


James Connolly Memorial under Butt Bridge, Dublin 1 and Crann an Oir (Tree of of Gold) at the front of the Central Bank in Dame St., Dublin, The Quincentennial Sculpture in Eyre Square, Galway, and The Great Hunger Memorial in Westchester, New York, the latter completed in 2001 and described by the New York Times as "this great work".

He was also a painter, printmaker and photographer and has won major awards for painting at the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, the Claremorris Open, and Arnott's National Portrait Competition. In 2006, he was awarded the Connor/Moran prize for sculpture at the annual R.H.A. exhibition. An exhibition of his photographs from the Irish Traditional Music Archive recently toured the U.S.A. and was exhibited at the Fowler Museum of Cultural History at U.C.L.A., Glucksman House at New York University and the University of Virginia.

In a parallel academic career, O'Doherty took a degree in architecture at University College Dublin and was Visiting Scholar at the G.S.D. in Harvard University. He taught at the University of Jordan, was exchange Professor at the University of Nebraska and the Ecole Speciale d'Architecture in Paris and the Dun Laoghaire School of Art. He co-authored books on the diverse subjects of environmental planning and traditional Irish music. He was for many years Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture at the Dublin Institute of Technology but relinquished teaching for good in 2002 to concentrate on artwork.



Commission Type Local Authority,Government Department
Commissioner Name Mayo County Council
Project commission dates June 6, 2006 - October 30, 2006
Artform Visual Arts
Funded By Mayo County Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 10000 - 30000 euro
Project commission start date 06/06/2006
Project commission end date 30/10/2006
Location Inishturk
County Mayo
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Gaynor Seville
Relationship to project Public Art Coordinator



Commission Call Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

16 August 2017

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and dlr Mill Theatre, Dundrum, invite proposals for a commission focusing on the creation of new work through...More..

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Greystones Educate Together National School appointed a voluntary committee with relevant expertise to oversee the per cent for art commissioning process. An external curator, Máire Davey, was appointed specifically for her expertise in working in a highly collaborative way as meaningful involvement from the students and school was viewed as central to the process. The procurement route chosen was limited invited competition.

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