The Free Seas
7th, 8th and 9th of April 10am- 5pm 2011
Located at the First Lock of the Royal Canal, Charleville Mall Library, Dublin 1, with daily events: children’s mini rafts exhibited on the ‘The Kingfisher’ barge, boat rides on the ‘Dubhlinn’, local folklorist Terry Fagan story telling event from 3pm Saturday 9th April and Sea Shanties sung on the Charleville Mall.

The Free Seas:
The Free Seas is a collaboration between artists Áine Ivers and Kathryn Maguire. Inspired and moved by a story told by the folklorist Terry Fagan, the artists undertook to build a raft and float it on the Royal Canal at The First Lock. The installation will be visible on the canal as part of this year’s Five Lamps Arts Festival, although no one may board the raft installation there will be ‘The King Fisher’ barge care of Derek Whelan to board and view the children’s mini rafts, and Michael Kinahan will have his German workboat the Dubhlinn available for boat rides throughout the three days. Both Michael Kinahan and Derek Whelan are members of Inland Waterways and have kindly allowed the use of their boats for the Festival.

The Free Seas collaboration explores the idea of Ireland’s identity as an island – the physicality and the psyche of such an existence. Terry Fagan’s story relates how, as a young boy growing up in the Five Lamps area, he and his friends once built a raft near the canal as they dreamed of escaping 1960’s Ireland. The story, for Maguire and Ivers, represented the nature of island life, the dark and tragic legacies of the island’s recent social history, and the eternal island dream of escape – of water as a medium of change, hope and difference.

They tied this story into a 17th Century concept called ‘Mare Liberum’ – The Free Sea – whereby one is free to journey on the sea without permit or passport, in contrast to the bureaucracies of land travel. The opening up of physical and psychical borders interested them here. The geography and history of Terry Fagan’s story became a structure for creative collaboration on this idea. The artists’ attempt to create a raft from found detritus and float it is offered as an ecological, sculptural and social symbol of the necessity of the ideas of free movement, escape and survival; ones which island living curtails, yet the concept of The Free Sea excites
The Free Seas
Free Seas