19x19cm fine art print featuring detail of larger piece titled “The woods consisted of large oak, birch, alder, some yew of as great a bulk as the largest ash” from The Gearagh: The Wooded River series.
Hole of the Otter
These pieces are printed to order on high quality fine art paper so please expect there delivery to be 1 - 2 weeks.
The name on this landscape is a corrupted English translation of the Irish name An Ghaorthaidh, The Gearagh which reveals nothing but a collection of familiar sounds to the many who don’t speak Irish fluently. The true English translation Wooded River lays out a weightier context onto the landscape, giving us an an idea to why we see tree stumps peeping above the waterline.
These stumps, along with the bridges and the small islands, are what remains of this western Europe’s last primeval river forest that was felled and flooded to aid the construction of the Iniscarra and Carrigadrohid hydroelectric Dams In the 1950s. The Gearagh as we know it today has a vastly different appearance today than it did in the past. In its past the Gearagh was made up of many islands that housed ancient native tree, an abundance of wildlife, rare plant species that were all protected by labyrinthine waterways and boggy tracts.
The forest was dense, dangerous and difficult to navigate, the many river channels flowed in different directions, all this helped the forest to survive into the 20th century when many other native Irish forest had been greatly depleted either to create space for agriculture or provide wood for industry.
The people who inhabited the Gearagh were a people who were united with the nature of the forest. From one generation to the next knowledge about how to navigate life inside it. The people crafted flat bottomed boats from oak and alder. The boats were flat so they would not get stuck in shallower waterways.
Islands and waterholes were given names that related to a significant feature that you could use to identify it, such as hole of the serpent and island of the poítín stils. One of the trades that the Gearagh is well known for was its poítín brewing. Brewers hid deep in the forest on islands. Smoke could be seen above the canopy by the authorities but because of the Gearaghs impenetrable nature they were never caught.
The Gearagh like many other Irish landscapes also had its own myths and folklore associated with it, as well as real life legend Shaun Ruadh of the Gearagh. A Gearagh native who left Ireland to serve in the Hungarian army who returned to Ireland and lived his life in protest to the penal laws endured by Irish Catholics.
This series aims to reanimate the culture and nature hidden in the submerged landscape of the Gearagh, a unique river forest located on the river Lee between Macroom and Cork City that was felled and flooded to aid the construction of the Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid hydroelectric Dams.
Robyn fused an observational and imaginative drawing process in responding to the landscape, creating work that harmonises both of these processes to create drawings that utilise both traditional and digital media.
The visual language developed revolves around the history, myth and nature associated with this landscape and forms immersive, pattern-like compositions that aim to promote curiosity, extending an invite to the viewer to partake in the pleasure of discovery.