Tom spends a week towards the end of July 1793 with Hamilton Rowan at his home in Rathcofffey House, at the edge of Clane, County Kildare.
Relationship with Place
When searching for the address of Rathcoffey House, Clane Co. Kildare comes up as the result. However the building sits on a rise a couple of miles outside of town. Co Kildare is criss-crossed with secondary roads connecting market towns. You can spot the house on a number of routes that leave the village. Close access to the area is prohibited. The estate has been turned over to farm fields. The gutted ruin of the big house butts onto a farmyard full of tractors, manure piles and stored equipment. The roof and all the wooden fixtures have burnt or rotted away, the stonework covered in patches of Ivy. Close inspection is awkward with gates and ditches hampering the traditional approach and ploughed fields running up to the door. The artist Sean Lynch drove me as close as he could to explore the location.
Tom spent a week with Archibald Hamilton Rowan between the 19th - 27th July 1793. Rowan’s family were wealthy well-connected planters from County Down. He was fourteen years older, aged forty-two, married and with children. However both men’s political consciousness had been raised at the same time in the 80’s, Thomas’s in student politics and Archie in the Volunteer movement with his father in the parish of his family estate in Killyleagh. Rathcoffey House was a substantial country house close enough to Dublin to allow Archie to take part in politics. The two men had been writing to one another, cultivating links between the political reform movement in Scotland and Ireland. When they met, they were both facing arrest for the distribution of Reform literature. It must have been of great encouragement to Tom to meet someone else willing to face up to similar charges in court.
Between 12th – 18th March 2013 Askeaton Contemporary Arts hosted my stay in Ireland and supported the research of 3 locations.
Glasgow to Dublin Flight Aer Lingus £39.00
Limerick to Dublin Train £51
Hotel Dublin £80
Airport Bus £6
Dublin to Glasgow flight Easyjet £84
I stayed in Mrs Horrigan’s house in Askeaton. Co Limerick. I was made very welcome. We ate, drank and spoke together in this house.
Michelle Horrigan, Director of Askeaton Contemporary Arts, drove me to Clane Co Kildare to find Rathcoffey House.
To provide finance for the whole research trip, the artist Sean Lynch organised teaching for me within institutions where he works.
Wednesday March 13th 2013. Lecture Limerick School of Art and Design (Morning)
Final Year Degree Students, crit (Afternoon)
Fee 400 Euros
Friday March 15th 2013. MAVIS, MA in Visual Art Practices department at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, design & Technology.
Lecture to Post Grad student group (Morning)
Public event at the Douglas Hyde Gallery ‘Politics: Modern and Irish’ presenting with Amanda Ralph, Helen Carey and Sean Lynch. (Afternoon)