Memorial event for families bereaved during lockdown planned in Carrick-on-Suir

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

Memorial event for families bereaved during lockdown planned in Carrick-on-Suir for public art project

St Nicholas Church in Carrick-on-Suir where the memorial event will take place in September

The families of 15 people from Carrick-on-Suir and its hinterland who died during the Covid-19 lockdown, are taking part in a public art project dedicated to the memories of their deceased loved ones. 

The  “In ár gcroithe go deo” (In our Hearts) art project will be unveiled at a memorial event in  Carrick-on-Suir’s St Nicholas Church on National Culture Night on Friday, September 18. 

“In  ár gcroithe go deo” is being spearheaded by the Carrick-on-Suir based Tudor Artisan Hub artists and Writing Changes Lives writers.  It aims to provide support and comfort to local people who lost loved ones during the three month lockdown by creating an art installation that will reflect the spirits of the deceased.  

The project recently issued an invitation to families, who lost people close to them between  March 15 and June 29 to take part.

  Linda Fahy of the Tudor Artisan Hub said they worked with local funeral homes, priests, parish offices, the Nano Nagle Community Resource Centre and local press to identify 25 families in the Carrick-on-Suir area who were bereaved during the lockdown and to reach out to them.  Fifteen families have so far expressed an interest in taking part and they are currently in the process of meeting with these   families. 

Linda said: “We are finding out a little something about the personality of their loved ones, their interests and passions, their community contributions and anything else families would like to share. 

“Experiencing a loss and arranging a funeral during Covid-19 lockdown was, of course, a different experience to the norm.

“Through our meetings we are capturing what was difficult, challenging and different about this for the family and also, if there were unexpected positive aspects to the experience as well.”

Linda said the information gathered will help the artists and writers to create an appropriate art installation that best reflects the unique traits of their loved ones and the unprecedented experience of coping with a bereavement during Covid-19 lockdown.  

The project involves a lot of work and preparation  but Linda says the families are “very appreciative” of what they are trying to do and people have been very eager to help out. 

Linda said a visual artist is being assigned to work with each family to produce an art work to commemorate the deceased. The creative writing element will likely be a response to what individual families experienced coping with  a bereavement during the lockdown. 

The Culture Night memorial event at St Nicholas Church at 7.30pm on September 18 that will be attended by the families, artists and writers involved with “In ár gcroithe go deo”.   

The public art project was inspired by the fact  the Covid-19 pandemic drastically changed the way Irish people express their grief for the passing of a loved one.  

Funerals were confined to close family and it was not been possible for people to come together to pay their respects and to offer comfort and support to those suffered a great loss.

She said it was a heart breaking time for grieving families and the absence of support from neighbours and friends was deeply felt. 

Details of the “In ár gcroithe go deo” art installation exhibitions will be announced in early September. 

The project is supported by the Clancy Brothers Music & Arts Festival and Tipperary County Council.