Walking Silvermines/ Siúlóid Bhéal Átha Gabhann

Walking Silvermines/ Siúlóid Bhéal Átha Gabhann is a spatial production that seeks to activate physical and narrative spaces suggested by the people of Silvermines through an extended public art process Silvermines; a psychogeography, carried out by Fiona Woods working with artists Clive Moloney, Sally-Anne McFadden and graphic designer David Wrenne.

The project began when Woods was appointed visual-artist-in-residence for North Tipperary in 2007 and she staged a series of temporary public works including discussions, workshops, a temporary museum project and a youth art project (which was carried out by Clive Moloney and Sally-Anne McFadden).

Walking Silvermines/ Siúlóid Bhéal Átha Gabhann has been created with and for the people of Silvermines, in response to their desire to present their heritage to the public and to develop a tourism industry, currently absent as a result of the contamination of lands and watercourses with toxic materials from mineworks in the area. The work functions as a piece of tourism infrastructure whilst simultaneously reflecting critically on the way that the Heritage Industry packages a place and a past for tourist consumption.

Walking Silvermines/ Siúlóid Bhéal Átha Gabhann consists of a walk between 12 locations, accompanied by a map and guidebook (available as a free download through the website) and a set of ‘signs’. The signs take virtual, and perhaps in the future, physical forms. Each sign consists of two sets of images, a ‘front’ and a ‘reverse’ design; the front of the sign reflects a piece of history or mythology related to the site where the sign is located. The reverse of the sign attempts to present an alternative view of the location, or to link this location into another location somewhere else in the world, reflecting the cosmopolitan history of Silvermines, but also reflecting the global nature of our economy and how the extraction of resources – metals, minerals, agricultural produce – is linked into a wider set of circumstances and histories.

The work draws on material that was presented by the people of Silvermines through the Imaginary Museum project (2007) and through an extended process of public consultation (2008 – 2010). It is made possible through the generosity of the people of Silvermines in sharing their knowledge and archives.

Walking Silvermines/ Siúlóid Bhéal Átha Gabhann is funded by The Arts Council of Ireland and North Tipperary County Council.