And We'll All Fly Together

And We'll All Fly Together

Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre's Curiosity project connecting pre-school children with the residents and staff of West Cork Community Hospitals during COVID-19.

Curiosity is an early years project that engages young children (3 to 5 years), their families and their pre-schools with the arts. Organised by Uillinn and taking place at the Arts Centre and throughout West Cork, Curiosity brings the exhibitions from the gallery and into the hands of the child, providing space to play, think and imagine.

Throughout February this year, artists Tess Leak and Sarah Ruttle visited playgroups in Drinagh, Schull, Bantry, Ballydehob and Goleen and introduced ideas of ‘Creativity and the Environment’ through play, music and making inspired by Gabhann Dunne’s current exhibition at Uillinn. The exhibition includes a large scale installation of over one hundred paintings of migratory birds in flight, visitors to our shores such as greenfinches, warblers, coal tits and many others.

During the workshops, the children rewrote some of the lyrics to the Irish/Scottish folk song Wild Mountain Thyme (also known as Purple Heather and Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?). The lyrics reflect the ideas explored by the project:-

Oh, the summer time is coming,
And the trees are sweetly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme,
Grows around the blooming heather,
Will you fly, blackbird fly?
And we’ll all fly together ,
To the wild mountain thyme,
All around the blooming heather,
Will you fly, blackbird fly?

Sarah Ruttle is also an artist on the Arts for Health Partnership Programme which delivers arts programmes in healthcare settings across West Cork. Inspired by the hard-working staff at the HSE and the challenges posed by continued isolation for older people, Sarah, along with Uillinn's Programme Manager: Education and Community and Arts for Heath Coordinator Justine Foster, devised a project to connect children with the community hospitals.

The young children from the playschools involved in Curiosity are invited to make a picture that shows us ‘flying together’ to share with staff and residents of the community hospitals. The children are encouraged to use simple materials found at home and in the garden and Sarah has shared some ideas thought the Playgroup Leader Networks to inspire and help parents to support their young children to take part.

The pictures will be posted to the community hospitals and will hopefully highlight that we are not alone in this difficult time and that we are there for one another across generations.


Photographs taken by Sarah Ruttle during visits to playschools around West Cork.


In association with our partners Cork Community Childcare, we acknowledge the support of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare and the Arts Council

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