Work Placement Trip to Inis Oirr

Travelling to Galway

After getting all of my things together, I then went to get the number 40 bus. This bus brought me to O’Connell Bridge. I then walked to customhouse to meet up with the class. Standing around for a few minutes gave me the idea to go and buy some food for the journey to Galway. Brendan and I then walked to the shop that was located in the bus station (Busaras). After returning to customhouse, it was then time to get on the bus and start our journey to Galway.

At the beginning of the journey, we took the Galway road, which passes by Ballyfermot, the place in which I traveled from to get to customhouse (I could have gotten collected from there). After what felt like an eternity, we arrived at the half-way-point. We stopped off to get some food and use the bathroom. A few of us from the class went to a coffee shop. I bought a cappuccino and a scone with some jam. It was so worth the €5 I was charged.

The journey continued the best way to pass time is music; I listened to music for the entire journey. We arrived at Eyre Square in Galway City. Once again, we stopped for food and a bathroom break. This time we went to Eddie rockets and I had some Bacon and cheese fries with a chocolate milkshake. I have to say this was the finest food I have had all day. Anyhow, back to the final leg of our bus journey.

We finally arrived at the ferry, which would take us to Inis Oirr. We got off the bus and onto the ferry with our bags. The waters between Galway and Inis Oirr (Inisheer) seemed rough but happily enough for me they were not. We had a nice surprise on the ferry journey; the Irish coast guard was doing a live training day. This involved a winch man been lowered down onto our ferry. I made several recordings of this on my phone. It lasted some time.

Finally, we arrived on Inis Oirr on what was a cold and dark night. All wrapped up in my new winter jacket, we all walked up to the B&B. This is the place we were going to be staying for the next five days. The B&B was and ok place, I did not think I would have much to complain. Therefore, I walked into a room and decided to stay there. Then a person from my class came into the room and chose his bed. Suddenly the room was full with five people in total. Then the person from the beginning came back in and took his bag and a mattress to move into a different room. It was as if we were all 12 again, leaving one room for a cooler room. To me that set the seriousness of the week for the ADT class.

Work Placement Diary

Day 1 – This was day one of the trip. I was awake early. We went into a main sitting area to talk about what we were going to do for the forthcoming days. The theme of the week was skin. The Day outside began with a trip to the graveyard where we sat and drew for a long time.
























All drawings relating back to the theme skin. I thought the theme skin was boring and started to think about things that could happen to our skin for example; cuts and healing. This led me to the idea of cutting open the earth and recording it through photography. Then slowly closing the wound and recording the healing process. This was my main idea of the day.

Wounded Earth



Day 2 – Zack and I (A person from my class) went up to the graveyard once again. We spent a short time here and then traveled up to the old castle on the hill. The second highest point on the Island. Across from the old castle, or rather old large house which looked like the seat of wealth and power on the island. We sat there for a long time and enjoyed the views that were on offer.

We drew some things but I mainly took photos while sitting up there. From this point, I could see the cliffs of Moher. That view was amazing. It was not the clearest day but I think that made it all the better. It was as if Ireland was trying to hide a beautiful secret. The day was ending.


We made our way back to the B&B for some dinner. As always, the night would usually end with a few pints in the pub that was located right beside our B&B. The pub was nice and welcoming. Many sat outside with drink that had been bought in Galway City.

Day 3 –This was the day that I spent the whole time on my own. This time I was on the beach. I started to make some three-dimensional work because let us be honest, everything else was boring, Charcoal, chalk, pencil and paint! So continuing with the theme skin and my idea hurt and healing I started to outline a hand on the sand with orange clothesline that I had brought to the island with me. After outlining the hand, I picked up some seaweed to represent a scare.

Wounded earth beach



As I always do, I recorded this through photography. We had a critique that night which I was not too happy to do. Especially when you are with a group of 40 or so students whose primary talents were in drawing or something similar. I am not that talented at drawing, painting etc. but I I am good at conceptual art.

Day 4 – On day four, we visited the father ted ship or at least that is how it is known in Dublin. This was a very enjoyable day. I climbed up on top of the ship and took so many photographs. I also drew for a time using chalk. I like using the chalk. The pictures I drew ended up somewhat abstract. For me, I like things that aren’t exactly how they look; otherwise I would have just taken a photograph.  After leaving the ship I Decided to go back to the beach and make more work form the rocks and seaweed. The image I settled on was of the castle (Large house) on the hill. I used small rocks to create the castle and walls, which surrounded it. I used the seaweed to create the grass fields and sticks to create the wooden pylons. I again documented this piece with photography. That was how I spent my day.

beach drawing using some items from nature


Day 5 – At this point, I was starting to lose interest. I was feeling ill and was not enjoying going out in the cold weather to draw something I was not interested in just for another critique that night in the Aras. Therefore, I decided to make a mobile version of the piece from the beach 2 days ago. I got a white page and covered it in pva glue, then I poured sand over it and enough of it stuck to the page. I then got a medical glove, filled that with sand, and glued it down. I then drew on a scare to represent the wound that I had put on the beach. This is what occupied me for the day. Even though it only took about one hour in total to do this but it did take a day to get the glue!


Work Experience – Class based project

            This week was about making a piece of work. This work was was influenced from my trip to Inis Oirr. As soon as we were given the green light to go and create, it took me roughly one hour to settle on an idea. The idea came from thinking about the ship. The ship was left to rot on the rocks for the last 60 years, abandoned and left to fight for itself against nature.

I was curious to why no one made efforts to rescue it. Therefore, I started relating the ship to things in society that had been abandoned. Equality has been abandoned and it was getting worst during this recession. People say they are fighting for an equal society but in reality they were just given it lip service. So on the first day, I got to work. Testing which materials and structures that best represented such an important issue.

I decided a top down structure would work. A pyramid if you like. I started with mesh to create the structure as it had gaps, which would allow me to put the rods through it. After holding a discussion with Dave, we agreed he would seek out a large tube. This was ideal. For the remainder of the day I done rough sketches to help me plan, design and create this work.

U plunk the beginning


Day 2 – Dave brought in the large tube that was originally used to hold a roll of drawing paper. I took the tube and started to dot out the holes that I was going to drill in it. The holes would be used to put the rods through. The rods made from dowel wood, would represent structures which stop people from falling to the bottom, family, friends, social assistance and so on.

Day 3 – The next step was to find a drill bit that was the same size of the dowel so I could drill the holes. This took a day. The drill pieces that were in the class were too small although I only realised this after spending the previous day drilling 27 holes with a drill bit that was too small. After seeking out a drill bit that was close to the size, I continued to make the holes bigger by drilling away the remainder.

I decided a top down structure would work. A pyramid if you like. I started with mesh to create the structure as it had gaps, which would allow me to put the rods through it. After holding a discussion with Dave, we agreed he would seek out a large tube. This was ideal. For the remainder of the day I done rough sketches to help me plan, design and create this work.

U plunk


After I completed the drilling part, I then began to make the triangle structure that would hold up the tower structure. I cut up three equally sized pieces of wood and connected them together to create a triangle. I used duct tape to hold it together and then masking tape. The masking tape allowed me to paint over the grey color of the duct tape.

The Base


I had considered putting pictures of rocks on the base to represent the rocks at the bottom of a lighthouse. These would have been the rocks some ships would crash against but I decided to paint it black to represent the abyss. The best thing about this week was the attitude of the class. Everyone put their heads down and got on with the work. It was a productive environment.

Day 4

I decided I would print off images that I had taken while on the ship. These images were of the rust from the ship. They represented abandonment. This project was coming together very well and very fast.

Rust Image


The structure was like a tall tower with a triangle base. In the tower were 27 rods, each one representing sub-supports in life. The skin of the tower was images of of rust and the base was black. The top of the tower was white, which symbolised hope and the bright light. All can be seeing in the image below

The finished piece


The piece was complete and I was so happy. The final step was to make six balls from clay, which would represent the different classes and wealth in society. The small ball of course would represent the small person while the large one would represent the fat cats of the country.

I then conducted a test; I dropped the balls into the tower and removed the structures to see which ones would come out at the bottom first. As one could predict the small one fell first. I then started to think of a way to stop the small people from falling and it hit me. Solidarity was the answer. By all of the small people sticking together, they would be of equal or larger size than the gaps thus stopping them from falling.

The morale of all of this is, inequality exists, social protection structures are been depleted and it’s all only going to get worst. If you are struggling in today’s society, show solidarity to those in a similar situation to yours and fight for the right of equality.


Evaluation of Work Experience Trip

The trip to Inis Oirr, Galway was one of great challenges. Living with people who at times acted quite childish was frustrating and disturbing. Interruption of meetings, late night noise and lack of overall interest, for me affected the atmosphere.

Another challenge for me was the creation of work that I could be confident about in showing at the critique. My strengths are not in drawing or painting but rather sculpture and conceptual ideas. This affected the amount of work I had, come the critique evening. I explained I had taken about 100 photos to date and my work was not mobile so I documented it through photography. It was suggested I document it through drawing and painting but I insisted it would not be to a good standard and I would feel less an artist than everyone else who had great talents. I overcame this, produced miniature replicates of my outdoor 3-D work and I once again regained confidence in my own art style.

Working outdoors in our Irish weather can be a challenge, especially in the west were things seem to be a bit got extreme than anywhere else. The strong winds meant I had held my pages down with pegs and masking tape so they would not fly away.

I do have regrets; I regret the lack of paintings and pencil drawings. I regret not socialising more with everyone rather than just a few. If I could go back and tell myself all of this, I do not think I would. It seems we can learn more from losing/failing than wining. The learning would not have been as strong, So I am thankful for the trip as it set me on a route that lead me to create a great sculpture.

If I could change anything with hindsight, I would. I would change people’s attitude before the trip. It needed to be taken seriously, so everyone could benefit from the trip. I do not think it was clear beforehand to how seriously it needed to be taken, so that set a precedent for the trip and it lead to some conflict and frustrated minds.

The trip was a great experience overall, one I will never forget. I took new skills and aims from it. One being the use of nature in my work can be exciting and strong. I learned new processes that I will take with me in to the future, to plan, sketch and then create my work rather than working backwards.

Future Planning

After I complete my course at BCFE (Ballyfermot College of Further Education), I will apply to NCAD (National College of Art and Design). While at NCAD, I wish to study Sculpture in the fine art department in year two, after year one (core year) is complete.

To do this I will need to register on the CAO website to be able to choose what courses I want to apply for in third level institutions. I will also need a minimum of five distinctions from my FETAC course to be eligible for application to NCAD, as I do not have the required leaving certificate. I have decided this route because I like to use sculpture to address social and political issues. This means I must work hard in BCFE to achieve the necessary credentials to be able to apply to NCAD.

To give an example of someone who is or has done work that I like and find very effective is Alfredo Jaar. Works of his that has captured my attention are Lights in the city 1999. The description reads:

Approximately a hundred thousand watts of red lights were installed in the Cupola of the Marché Bonsecours, a landmark monument in the old Montreal.

Button devices were placed in the Accueil Bonneau, la Maison Eugénie Bernier and la Maison Paul Grégoire, homeless shelters located within 500 yards of the Cupola. Every time a homeless person enters any of these shelters, they are free to push the buttons and the red light will flash in the Cupola.

This project can be read in many ways: First, a “photograph” is taken every time a human being asks for help (a light flashes as if a photograph is being taken). This “photograph” respects the privacy and dignity of the “homeless” person (there is no “material image”) while at the same time sends a sign (a red light).

Once I finish full time education and in the real world, I would like to work solo to establish myself as a conceptual artist. I believe establishing myself will take time. I would need a workshop/studio space, funding and experience. For funding, I could apply to such organizations as The Arts Council, Firestation, and so on.

I would like to travel and work in such places like New York and Paris but I plan to stay in Ireland for my near future.


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