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Visual Artist Cathal Mc Carthy has been recently awarded the Tubber Hill Public Art commission by Mayo County Council’s Arts Service. Cathal will be working in collaboration with local poet Mary C Reilly and residents of the Tubber Hill Housing Development on this visual arts and poetry project starting in autumn 2021 and continuing into 2022. This project is an opportunity for the local community of Tubber Hill Westport to collaborate with a professional artist on a public art project.  It will be participatory in nature and the local community will be directly involved in the creative process.

A series of creative engagement workshops are planned for residents to attend including creative writing, spoken word, visual art, circus skills and other art forms. Creative writing workshops will be led by Mary C Reilly, local poet and Tubber Hill resident. The visual art and sculpture workshops will be facilitated by Cathal McCarthy. The workshops will accommodate different age groups; children, young people and adults and explore themes relevant to each group. The collaborating artists will support everyone in expressing their ideas and exploring their creativity. The artist Cathal McCarthy will work directly with the community  to develop the final artwork which will combine the written and visual art forms.

Cathal describes his approach to community engagement;

As an artist I enjoy working and engaging with the community to create a sense of ownership, build relationships and provide an atmosphere of support and investigation. My modus operandi is to provide frameworks/skills and methodologies for artwork creation. My practice often involves social aspects where I provide frameworks for meaningful socially engaged art participation.

Some of the themes that might be explored as starting points to themes to ignite dialogue and consultation with the community include:

  • Life in Tubber Hill.
  • Nature, the greenway, the sea and clew bay.
  • Sports, being active, outdoors and healthy lifestyle.
  • Family and community.
  • Landscape, place and the history of place.
  • Humour, local lore, covey talk and colloquialisms

The project will be unique to Tubber Hill and will represent the people living there. The workshops will bring residents together and nurture new friendships, sparking dialogue and inspire creativity.

The location of the Tubber Hill Housing Development and its relation the wider community of Westport located in the shadow of Croagh Patrick on the edge of Clew Bay all give ample scope for the imagination It is located at one of the highest points of the town with views of the surrounding landscape. The housing scheme was designed to be immediately accessible to the Westport Greenway (old railway line) into the town centre, schools, playgrounds and the Quay. The Tubber Hill development represents a merging of the old and new as it is located close to the original streets in the town including Peter Street, High Street and John’s Row. Local history, changing times and society are reflected in the nearby historical sites. 

This commission is part of Mayo County Council’s Public Art Programme, funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage under the Per Cent for Art Scheme. For more information go to Residents in interested in taking part in upcoming workshops can contact

For further information: Aoife O’Toole, Acting Public Arts Co-ordinator, Mayo Arts Service at 094-9064376 or

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