Hegarty's Boatyard

Kevin O'Farrell
Hegarty’s Boatyard: Last Surviving Traditional Wooden Boatyard in Ireland

11 April to 23 May 2020

This exhibition comprises a new body of documentary photography, developed over 20 years by West Cork-based photographer Kevin O'Farrell, celebrating Ireland’s disappearing maritime heritage and the skills of traditional wooden boatbuilders. The photographs focus on the work of three generations of the same family working in Hegarty’s Boatyard, Oldcourt, Skibbereen, Co. Cork which is the last surviving traditional wooden boatyard in Ireland.

This exhibition will include a Discovery Box. Gallery educators Kate McElroy and Stella Gilfert have been commission to create this Discovery Box in response to the work in the exhibition. Find out more about Discovery Box here

Kevin O'Farrell's approach draws on the traditions of photojournalism and magazine reportage. Documentary photography captures the essence of a process by recording it in a series of images, creating a visual narrative. Kevin's work involves impartially observing how events unfold in front of the camera. The photographs convey the relationship between the boatbuilders, the boats and the environment they occupy and how they interact in scale and place. They highlight the labour and the skills involved in wooden boat restoration and building, the tools and materials of the trade both singular and mundane and the individual shipwrights and apprentices involved.

Launching at Uillinn to coincide with Baltimore's Wooden Boat Festival, the exhibition will travel on an extensive tour to venues around Ireland and the UK including the National Maritime Museum, Cornwall. Tanya Kiang, curator of one of the venues, the Gallery of Photography Dublin says “This is a strong, classic body of photographic work, which records and preserves an important part of Ireland’s living heritage. The photographs offer rich interpretations from a variety of perspectives – and I believe the exhibition will garner interest from those interested not only in photography and art, but also in maritime culture, as well as archaeologists and cultural historians.”

A series of free public talks with invited speakers will link to the related areas of maritime history, local heritage, and cultural geography, and to coincide with the exhibition, Ilen River Press have published a photographic monograph by Kevin O'Farrell (176 pages, black & white and colour prints, soft cover with French flaps) celebrating the work of Hegarty’s Boatyard.



WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council

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