Sherkin Island’s ‘Samdradh le cheile’ exhibition


I discovered a new word the other day via a Tweet by the wonderful Robert MacFarlane. His word of the day was “sielunmaisema” – literally meaning ‘soul-landscape’, ‘soul-scene’; a particular place that a person carries deep in the heart and returns to often in memory. (Finnish).

How beautiful is that?

Of course, my sielunmaisema is Sherkin Island, and I am not alone in that. There is something about the place that inspires creativity and sooths the soul.

In her opening speech at ‘Samhradh Le Cheile’ (Summer Together), Sherkin Island’s annual exhibition last week, the inspirational 90-year-old Peggy Townsend, Student of the Year in 2010 for the Island’s BA degree in Visual Arts, explored what is it about a place that brings out the creative spirit in people.

She talked about the creative flow of energy and ideas on the island, and likened it to other artistic communities such as Newlyn, St Ives and Tory Island.

Peggy questioned where this comes from and she explored the possibility of whether it could be the clarity of light in these places, the ancient monuments and sacred ground or the geological energy that makes a place so special.

The conclusion was that we will never know how this elusive ‘spirit of place’ continues to attract, energise and inspire so many.

The talent and the diversity of the works on show at the community exhibition is testament to the creative current running through this tiny island community.

Samhradh Le Cheile is running in the Community Hall on Sherkin Island until Sunday 1st July.

Catch a ferry, or swim if you have to. 🙂