Castleknock Students Return to Beaubec

A glorious Autumn day at Beaubec made the arrival of Castleknock College First Year History students all the more pleasurable. They were on a day’s field trip to the Boyne Valley and had included Beaubec in their itinerary. Their teachers had them all well prepared and Matt and Geraldine Stout were bombarded with loads of intelligent and thought-provoking questions. While Matt introduced the pupils to the history and excavation results Geraldine talked about the role of the archaeologist on a site, introducing the pupils to the equipment and recording methods. This tied in nicely with their history curriculum for this year. We had a lively discussion about Henry VIII who closed down most the monasteries in Ireland and one of the students shared with us Henry’s final words. These are said to have been ‘’monks, monks, monks.’’ We were delighted to see how well the on-site information panels worked in the presentation. Their history teacher, Tom McGauley (who sent us these photos), has designed a brilliant site specific app with questions to be answered at each site on the pupils’ phones. He has generously allowed us to put a link to this app up on the blog to be used by other schools that visit. The find of the day goes to Dara White who picked up a wine bottle opener from our end of excavation party in July 2021 AD. Many thanks to all the pupils who were excellent listeners and well mannered, an absolute credit to their college and families.

The last Day

By Dr John Sunderland

The day was full of activity as everyone pushed to finish their pieces and what a great show of work, expressive, imaginative and accomplished are just a few words I’d use to describe them. Everyone embraced the idea of using archaeological materials to make art work and soon produced some fascinating works with character and great skill. I certainly enjoyed it and learnt a lot from my fellow artists about the breadth of possibility when bringing art and archaeology together, so I would like to thank Grace McCullen for supporting me and running with the idea, John and the McCullen family for allowing us to work on the site, Matthew and Geraldine Stout for setting up the excavation in the first place and being open to art as part of the mix and my wife Penny, for providing logistical and all kinds of other support. I would also like to thank our sponsors the Amazon AWS fund and ChangeX without whom this would not have been possible.

Joy’s finished drawing inspired by the excavation at Beaubec.

Joy drawing with soil.

Eliot’s sculptures.

Eliot’s forest.

Erica’s snail made of clay and crushed brick.

Erica’s soil and pencil drawing.

Alana’s drawing of the conserved dormitory wall.

Detail of interior of Alana’s beehive huts.

Alana’s beehive huts inside the service tower.

Catherine’s Dragon

Beaubec Art Workshop – Day 3

Despite the sweltering heat, new sculptures and drawings are emerging, including Irish kings and queens, a dragon and beehive huts. Drawings are progressing too, with Joy producing a very provoking composition and Erica has been drawing almost every stone in the dormitory, twice! Beautiful work all round as I’m sure you’ll agree. It is great to get a wide variety of visual perspectives and interpretations of the site.

Sculpting in progress

Joy O’Brien

Eliot Zajac

Erica Murphy

Alana Dillon

Catherine Meehan

Beaubec Art Workshop – Day 2

Today we moved from 2d works to 3d, making sculptures out of natural boulder clay and sheltering from the sweltering heat in our excellent gazebo! A big thanks to Matt and Geraldine and to Grace for providing much needed Ice creams! Here’s the work and again, it speaks for itself, a range of styles and ideas. Great work everyone!

Erica Murphy

Andrew Downie

Joy O’Brien

Alana Dillon

Eliot Zajac

Beaubec Art Workshop – Day 1

By Dr John Sunderland

We’ve started! The Beaubec Art ‘camp’ is up and running. Well, technically we’re not camping, but we do have a tent and so far we’ve started with some drawing exercises and I delighted with the breath of talent we have. There is plenty of different drawing styles that all compliment each other, so I shall let the images speak for themselves.

Joy O’Brien

Andrew Downie

Erica Murphy

Catherine Meehan

Alana Dillon

Eliot Zajac

Touching Time Opens 6 August

John and his assistant Catherine Meehan are in the midst of curating the Touching Time exhibition. The exhibition opens on 6 August at 4:00pm and runs to 3 September. John Sunderland’s exhibition has featured prominently in local newspapers and in Archaeology Ireland. Please support the exhibition. Thanks to the Droichead Arts Centre and Grace McCullen for making this possible.

‘Touching Time’ article in the most recent (Summer) edition of Archaeology Ireland.

 Droichead Arts Centre would like to invite you to:
TOUCHING TIME
AN EXHIBITION BY JOHN SUNDERLAND

OPENING SAT 06 AUG 4PM
Exhibition runs to Sat 03 Sep
 Around eight hundred years ago a group of Cistercian monks from France arrived in Bey More, to the south of Drogheda, and set up a medieval grange at Beaubec, to farm wheat and other foodstuffs for export to their motherhouse in France. Between 2019 and 2021, an archaeological investigation of the site uncovered the remains of a barn and dormitory. Archaeologist and artist John Sunderland undertook a residency at the site during the excavations in 2021, making work from the materials discarded by archaeologists in the process of digging. This exhibition shows the result of this investigation of the two crafts of archaeology and art, drawing using archaeological soils and skills involved in excavation. John used a hybridised process to investigate the importance of touch in the excavation, something he considers to be one of the closest ways of experiencing and subsequently imagining the past directly, as it exists in the present.The residency was part of The Beaubec Project, a community and research archaeology project run jointly by archaeologists Matthew and Geraldine Stout and the landowner John McCullen with his daughter Grace McCullen. The excavation and residency were funded by the FBD Trust.A lunchtime talk involving the archaeologists Matthew and Geraldine Stout, landowner John McCullen and artist John Sunderland will take place in Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell Street on the 20th August, book HERE.

Accompanying the exhibition, a workshop for young adults will take place on site at Beaubec during Heritage Week funded by Change X. For more information phone Droichead on 041 9833946.

Notre Dame Students Visit Beaubec

Beaubec is now firmly established on the tourist trail. Recently, a group of Notre Dame interns visited the medieval grange. They were particularly taken by the information panels designed by ‘Domer’ alumni Elizabeth Gardner. Other groups to have visited Beaubec recently include the Louth Archaeological and Historical Society and The Irish Country Women’s Association from Donegal.

Notre Dame interns admire the information panel featuring a reconstruction drawing by alumni Elizabeth Gardner. These panels were financed by the Community Monuments Fund.

Anne McCullen (centre) with the Notre Dame interns. They proudly display copies of the the Louth Archaeological and Historical Society Journal gifted to them by John McCullen.

Canadian Farm Journal Features Beaubec

Ontario journalist Matt McIntosh has written an excellent piece in the online journal Farmtario.com. In it he highlights the role of farmers in preserving Ireland’s archaeological heritage and the challenges they face to combine modern farming methods with public access. Our hosts, the McCullen Family receive much praise for their approach to the Beaubec site. Members of the Beaubec team met with Matt last year. The link below will bring you to Matt’s article.

https://industry-update.com/castles-in-the-pasture-farmer/43068/

This photo by Matt McIntosh introduces the Canadians to the McCullen Family.

Discovery Programme shows Beaubec in 3D

The Beaubec Project is delighted to announce the creation of a 3D model of the monk’s residence by the Discovery Programme. Click on the link below to see for yourselves. This model shows the residence after the extensive conservation work carried out in 2021 as part of the Community Monuments Fund. Many thanks to the Discovery Programme team for this valuable contribution to the project.

Art Workshop Places available! 

From Wednesday the 10th to Sunday the 14th of August, last year’s artist in residence John Sunderland will be running a five day art workshop that will explore the archaeology and landscape of Beaubec on site and we have some places available. The workshop is for young adults who have to be over 16 to 25 ish. It will explore the relationships between archaeology and art, using drawing photography and sculpture with materials discarded from the excavation, including drawing with soil and modelling with clay (see posts above for last year’s results) We would be happy to hear from you if you are interested in participating! Contact John at samsunderland@gmail.com expressing your interest. Although we cannot offer accommodation or travel costs, the workshop is free and all materials will be supplied. We have a limited number of spaces so we will offer them on a first come first served basis.

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