Despite it unwieldy title Cultural Legacy Exhibition, featuring the legacy and inspiration of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem at the Joan Clancy Gallery in Ring, is possibly the exhibition of the summer.
Set on Helvick Head, the gallery that was the home of the late Tom Clancy is a unique place for such a significant show.
In a beautiful maritime location over forty paintings explore, celebrate and awaken memories of a ballad period that changed the face of Irish musical history.
Members of the world famous group are depicted and lines from songs they made famous creates an exhibition that could and should travel beyond this county, if not this country.
Andrea Jameson in a most colourful way links the source of inspiration with the balladeers in a series of vortex swirls that represents continuity and creativity with a Joycean theme of Commodius Vicus of Recirculation.
Dave West paints two old style cassette tapes in Compilation Tapes to rekindle memories of tunes not really forgotten.
The glorious day I was there Joan Clancy hummed and sang snatches of those songs and images to help me feel the nostalgia. I could recall so much and the evocative work of Blawnin Clancy with Wild Mountain Thyme and Mountain Heather was just beautiful.
The small fine line ink drawings of Laura Fitzgerald featured a detailed take on Waltzing Matilda and The Dory.
Katarzyna Gajewska had fine studies of Tommy Makem and the Brothers in her individual hand painted style.
Paul Flynn had an excellent The Rising of the Moon.
But it was the water colour work of Tom’s daughter Rayleen Clancy, that wowed me, as faces ebbed and flowed and seemed to fade just a little as if memory was blurring. Her studies of her father and Preserve Your Memories are shot through with love, loss and personal memory.
On a plinth in the gallery The Book by Rayleen is such a personal study in creativity and memory. Inside a tweed pocket, a leather bound work or ideas book shows how a 19 year old girl came or tried to come to terms with death. The leather binding was part of the last hides tanned in Dungarvan and Rayleen writes and paints about how empty the heart becomes when you lose your hero.
It felt like an intrusion as I looked through the book but that book illuminated the work, the legacy and the sense of music and happiness behind the obvious sadness.