Artist: Margo Banks
Title of work 1: Untitled
Medium: bronze plaque
Dimensions: Including concrete base: 94 x 74cm. Without: 62 x 44cm
Location: Defender’s Row, Dundalk
More about this work:
This plaque marks the site of the original house in Defender’s Row built during the 19th Century and refers to a local event when ribbon boys*, treated well by the warden during their imprisonment, came back to help build the housing, and so the houses became known as Defender’s Row.
The plaque reads: “in 1793, the Defenders of Tallanstown helped Governor Fitzpatrick built this road by lending horses and carts”.
* The Ribbon Society was a Catholic secret society set up at the beginning of the 19th century as a counter part to the Protestant Orange Order which had been growing in numbers and influence across Ulster since its inception in 1796. It continued the traditions of “The Defenders” and “The White Boys”, similar groups from an earlier part of Ulster’s troubled history. Its main aim was to fight against the miserable conditions in which the vast majority of Catholic tenant farmers and rural workers lived in the early 19th century.
Title of work 2: The Curse of the Morrígan
Medium: Bronze and stone
Dimensions: 1m x 2m (including stone and at widest point)
Location: James Street Dundalk
More about this work:
In Irish folklore, The Morrígan is associated with foretelling doom and death in battle. In this role she appears as a crow, flying above the battlefield. In the Táin Cycle, Cú Chulainn meets the Morrígan a number of times- before one combat the Morrígan visits him in the form of a beautiful young woman and offers him her love, but he spurns her. She then reveals herself and curses his next battle. She does this by appearing in the form of an eel who trips him in the ford, then as a wolf who stampedes cattle across the ford, and finally as a heifer at the head of the stampede, but each time, Cú Chulainn wounds her. After he defeats his opponent, the Morrígan appears to him in the form of an old woman milking a cow, with wounds corresponding to the ones Cú Chulainn gave her in her animal forms. She offers him three drinks of milk. With each drink he blesses her, and the blessings
heal her wounds. He meets her again, and at another time, after he has been dead for three days tied to a rock, she appears as a raven on his shoulder to confirm he is dead.
Margo Banks was born in 1951 in Dublin. She lived in Spain from the age of 17 for 14 years before returning to Ireland in 1983. Margo’s strong connection to her mother and family place influences her work heavily. Her work recalls stories from her mother; her childhood, her land (Teeromoyle in South West Kerry) and its folklore. This interest in folklore is evident in much of her work.
Find out more about this artist: www.margobanks.com