A group from Monaghan U3A has just completed a very successful and creative series of workshops with Joanne Behan at Clones Art Studio.  


The project, funded by Monaghan County council and the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, began in February with a thought provoking lecture by Darach McDonald on ‘Exploring the effect of 1916 and beyond on border communities, culture and identity.’


Using this as a springboard, the group began a process of exploring the events, effects, customs and life of the 1916 era and beyond.  
Some extraordinary artefacts, including original and unseen work by Countess Markievicz, were brought to the workshops. Artist and sculptor, Joanne Behan, gently guided us in our endeavours and some hidden talents were uncovered. Anne Lillis created a sculpture entitled ‘Conflict’ while Brendan Lillis delved into a mixed media production exploring the Rising as both inspiration and strangulation of the Border areas. Tony Keenan produced a four foot poster of Ireland with many photos from Ballybay circa 1916.  Dave Phelan drew and blended a photograph with a picture of his grandfather complete with gun and surrounded by his fellow activists. Sadie Jordan produced a wonderful hand embroidered album depicting life around Rockcorry while Kathleen Greenwood revealed a talent for clay sculpture with a flowing figure of Mise Eire.  Prega Pillay discovered the far reaching effects of 1916 on his native India, demonstrated by a poster and he also produced a sculpture of Padraig Pearse.  Maggie Greenan used an old newspaper as inspiration for a beautiful picture.  Alison Bole also provided artistic advice and she created a 3D clay production of North Monaghan.

While not all the pieces are fully finished, the process and journey, complete with the banter and Colette’s lovely homemade biscuits to sustain us, proved a great success and many now wish to continue the process with more classes. Again we express our gratitude to Joanne Behan, Monaghan County Council and Minister Heather Humphries and the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for such a wonderful initiative.