"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"

- Alan Hogan

Monday, September 16, 2013

Living next door to Alice

ALICE by Mick Minogue

Kieran Street, Kilkenny

This is an extension to an earlier post I wrote about a short visit I made to Kilkenny in July 2013. While I was walking around the city's streets I discovered an impressive piece of street-art. Situated at an empty building plot on Kieran street, this large art project entitled 'Alice' by Kilkenny artist Mick Minogue depicted images of a woman called Dame Alice Kyteler

Mick Minogue and Alice

My first thoughts when I saw the artwork was 'I like that, nice work...and something to do with witchcraft!!!'  I also wondered to myself how long will this artwork be here? I realised it was presented in an empty building space with a main part painted on the area's hoarding. I assumed it was perhaps a temporary addition to the city's art scene and would in time be replaced by a new property or business. With that thought in mind I had to enjoy the painting all the more in that moment, as it will most likely be out of sight before I get back to Ireland again. 

ALICE by Mick Minogue

Detail from the hoarding

I've never been much of a historical buff, but I sometimes like an interesting story or character. So after seeing the 'Alice' painting I read up a little more about this Kyteler woman. I discovered that "she was the first woman in all of Europe to be tried by the Church for crimes of witch craft". Now witches as part of Irish history or folklore never really seemed to register in my head as being interesting or popular until now. It was always Tír na nÓg, Queen Maeve, Setanta and banshees for me, and leprechauns for the tourists! 

Detail from Mick Minogue's ALICE

So leaving legends, myths and the little people aside, this old witch story seems to be somewhat documented with names, dates and occurances in time from 13th century Ireland and thus worth a little attention. A mild browse over Alice Kytelar's history and activities kindled up an image to me of a beautiful woman who apparently had a wicked way with men but in time befell to certain forces of evil and witchcraft (or maybe not?). There's some relevant reading about this woman on Mick Minogue's Blog and also Scandalous Women: Dame Alice Kyteler (1280 - 1324?)

Mick Minogue Made This!

The 'Alice' project was a special commission by The Keep Kilkenny Beautiful Committee as part of Tidy Towns 2013 and the artist has integrated this theme cleverly into his designs. Close evidence of this can be seen here in this short video. I particularly liked the witch themed anti-litter signs.

Seeing Mick Minogue's 'Alice' project made me check out more of his work, which I found to be both interesting and a little quirky. I don't get to travel back to Ireland as often as I would like, so I feel lucky to have had the chance to see this example of Mick Minogue's work and the Kilkenny art scene. More of Mick's work can be found at his website here or on his Facebook page.

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Check out these six 'Ireland' travel posts here on my blog. Click on the destinations below to read the rest!

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- Alan 



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