Good news for East Cork’s creative community

Greywood Arts wants to put creativity at the heart of East Cork – and we are delighted to announce that our plans for an arts centre in Killeagh village are coming to fruition. We have raised 75% of the necessary funds to renovate a derelict coach house into a place where artists and the local community can connect, learn and explore the creative process. All going to plan, renovations will begin in January and we hope to open our doors in autumn 2021.

We are thrilled to announce the support of the LEADER Programme with the assistance of the South Cork LCDC, the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development in the amount of €167,614.46.  We are grateful to SECAD, who saw the potential for our project and guided us on the path to LEADER funding. We are also pleased to announce additional support of €20,000 from Cork County Council, and €60,000 from a charitable trust.

Just over a year ago we shared our vision for artist studios, an arts education room and a flexible event and exhibition space. With planning permission in place, we set our sights on raising the €365,000 needed to replace the roof, floors, doors and windows, add electricity, plumbing and heating, and restore the exterior with heritage materials. The exact age of the building is unknown, but it has been part of an estate since 1767, an RIC barracks, and a sawmill.

For anyone who would like to help place creativity at the heart of East Cork, we will be launching a crowd funding campaign this Tuesday, October 27tt at 11am, on the Irish platform Fund It. Our goal of €15,000 will go a long way towards putting a new roof on the coach house!

We believe meaningful experiences are made through creative engagement. Not only will our expansion allow us to offer ongoing arts classes for children, teens and adults – but will help us increase the scope of our community projects. We frequently collaborate with groups like the active retired, Fóroige, Scouts and local schools and have seen incredible outcomes from participation in our programmes. We believe exploring self-expression helps build self-confidence, as well as collaboration, communication and problem -solving skills. The coach house will also offer space for cultural events like literary readings, screenings, music and other live performances.

Now more than ever, the value of human connection is apparent, and we look forward to opening in a future where gathering in person will be possible once again. Set alongside the river Dissour, at the foot of Glenbower Wood, and adjacent to Greywood Arts’ artist residency and a one-acre walled garden, the coach house is an ideal place to get inspired, grow and become part of a creative community.

Artists Announced! Unexpected Spaces Public Art Residency

Greywood Arts is delighted to announce the award of the Unexpected Spaces Public Art Residency to French choreographers Blanche Godivier and Clarisse Mialet!

Together, they will create an interactive outdoor performance about the Future! Engaging with children and adults in the community, they will explore how residents of Killeagh think our world might change in the future- the earth, animals, and the daily life of mankind: How could we evolve? Will animals look the same? Would you move to outer space? The resulting conversations will be translated through movement and improvisation into multiple bold and surprising scenarios.

The selection panel was enchanted by the wildly imaginative proposal and impressed by Blanche and Clarisse’s vivacious energy. We also appreciate how this playful format can be used as a springboard for discussing more serious and pressing questions around conservation and sustainability. The artists believe a sustainable approach to creating is a necessity, and will be utilising recycled materials to build costume and scenic elements.

We are hopeful the residency can go ahead as planned, with performances taking place on Culture Night in September – but of course this depends on the lessening of travel restrictions. We promise to keep everyone posted when we confirm the dates – and meanwhile we look forward to the fresh perspective Blanche & Clarisse will bring to Killeagh!

Thank you!

We truly appreciate the work that goes into designing a submission, and it was a privilege to review this years applications. This year we saw an incredible range of ideas, imagination, and inventive ways of engaging the public from applicants across 24 countries. With over seventy-five submissions and only one residency award, the selection process was very competitive.

Below is a list of artists who made the short list for this year- Well done!

Jarek Lustych
Thomas Buckley
Carel Lanters
Mary Cooke
Janet Botes
Daniel Tollady
Freya Gabie
Nada Almergawi
Susan Herrera
Vitaliy Agapeyev
Instant Dissidence
Mabel Vicentef
Marta Romani and Karl Logge
Bas Peeters


Blanche Godivier


Blanche Godivier started her education in France at the Regional Conservatory of Angers, where she studies ballet. She continues studying in this field at National Superior Conservatory of Lyon and then within a contemporary and ballet dance bachelor at the National Superior School of Marseille, where she discovers her attraction for creation in dance. After that she joined the dance company Introdans, in The Netherlands, where she had the occasion to perform in the pieces of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jiri Kylian, Lucinda Childs, Karole Armitage and Nils Christie. Once back in France she followed a Drama Arts curriculum and started a bachelor in Nordic Studies at Sorbonne Université Paris. She launches at that time her early works and projects as a choreographer. She creates then several pieces, mostly collaborating with other artists from different fields.

“I met Clarisse Mialet a few years ago, randomly at an open dance class. Some time after, she left for Italy, and only a few years later we met again, both of us were back in Paris. Talking about the experiences we had, we naturally thought about working together. Pretty quickly came up the idea of the future, and the desire to question this notion we are all part of.”

Clarisse Mialet


Clarisse Mialet, born in France, just turned 25 and has been dancing for the past twenty years. She started her education in Paris Regional Conservatory and at Atelier-Rudra Béjart school in Switzerland. She then moved to Italy to study contemporary dance at Art Factory International. There she met her future partners and together they founded the dance collective Kittyking. The artistic approach they develop mixes introspection with singular atmospheres. The team is based in Zurich, and has been touring since 2018 in festivals in Berlin with the Swiss collective Extraleben.

“Back in 2016 I met Blanche Godivier in an open dance class. We lost contact for some years. When we met again in 2019, I realized that somehow our path were quite aiming for the same direction, that we shared a history because how similar our choices were. It was a good time for us to start thinking and searching together. And what was the first thing that came out? Future. Because of where we were in our lives, because of our generation, because of the global crisis. It had to be the future.”

Past May Sunday Festivals


Today would have been the third revived May Sunday Festival, a historical celebration in Killeagh which dates back to the 1830s. Due to the unusual times and for the safety of all our community, the festival had to be cancelled this year.

To celebrate the day and its traditions, we’ve been sharing suggestions of things you can do on your own: making lanterns, tying your wish to the Rag Tree, listen to the Dawn Chorus, go for a walk in the woods.

Here are a few of our photos which look back on festivals past, with music, dancing, games and fancy dress. Featured are festival programs dating back to the 1960s, with a charming look back at the Killeagh Streets. Last, we have the song ‘Old Glenbower’ composed and sung by Mary Pedder Daly.

We’re looking forward to the return of the festival next year in 2021- so watch this space!

Photo credit- Kara Sweeny 2019


This time last year, we were hosting the brilliant Julie Sue Fiscellafrom USA, who transformed old windows from Greywood Arts (made here when the building was used as a sawmill) into a stunning Meditation Space. Unveiled during the May Sunday Festival 2019, it was installed in Glenbower Wood for the summer.

In each lower window, Julie has painted a native Irish lichen, and the top panel shows the colour dye made from that variety. Each pane is laminated with a clear resin to preserve the artwork and fortify the glass.

Photo credit- Kara Sweeny 2019


Music, dancing, games and fancy dress

Photo credit- Kara Sweeny 2019






May Sunday 1975

May Sunday 1967



May Sunday 2018


A look back at the 2018 festival – the first organised by Greywood Arts, with the support of Cork County Council and in collaboration with many community groups: Killeagh Inch Community Council, The Monday Club, Historical Society, Scouts, Inch Fóroige, and more! Artist-led initiatives by Jessica Bonenfant, Lisa (Cahill) Cliffe, Carol Anne Connolly & Kara Sweeney. Video by Seamus Hegarty.

The Dawn Chorus

Mountain Photo Earth Hour Instagram Post


The first Sunday in May is International Dawn Chorus Day. As part of the May Sunday Festival last year, we were privileged to have the Killeagh Inch Parish Pastoral Council present a guided walk at sunrise with Pat Smiddy, teaching us to how to listen and identify the birds of Glenbower Wood.  It made for a beautiful morning, enjoying the grand procession of morning calls and bird song to begin the festival day.

As this year is a little different for everyone, we’d like to share an online guide to identifying some of the unique bird calls for your own walk in the woods – here

Here is a snippet of birdsong from Glenbower wood from our own walks

May Sunday Traditions

The Torch Light Procession

Today is Bealtaine, or May Day – which marks the beginning of summer. Historically, it was the day for moving animals to summer pastures and for the lighting of bonfires. A Torch Light Procession was part of May Sunday Festivals in the past, most probably a link to this Celtic celebration of light and fire.

In recent years, we would be preparing to make lanterns with the Scouts and other families in our community this afternoon. At twilight, with lanterns in hand, we would process up through Glenbower to the Metal Bridge. Passing through two bonfires for luck, we would tie a rag on the rag tree – making a wish for the year to come. Last year, storyteller Noelle O’Regan captivated us with Irish myths and tales.

This year has been different for everyone, and this afternoon is very quiet at Greywood. In the absence of our usual workshop, we’d like to share some online tutorials for lantern making with you.

Instead of gathering together, you might like to place your lanterns in the front window of your home, or hang them from a tree in your garden.

Here are two tutorials for how to make your own lantern:


The Rag Tree

Hawthorn Trees, Holy Wells and ties of good will

At the end of the Torch Light Procession, people were invited to add their well wishes to the Rag Tree. This is an old Irish Tradition, where a tree (usually a Hawthorn, Ash or Whitehorn) near a Holy Well is adored with ribbons or pieces of cloth. Each one is tied with the belief if someone has a problem, or is unwell, the wish will come true as the rag wethers away.

Glenbower wood is home to Fannin’s Well, nestled in a clearing accessed by a path near the Metal Bridge.

On your next walk in the wood, you might tuck a wee rag in your pocket and make a wish for the year ahead when you cross the Metal Bridge.

World Art Day 2020

For World Art Day 2020, here’s a look at some artworks gifted by previous residents as mementos of their stay.

2019 – a year in review

2019 was a year of extraordinary growth. We grew quickly and organically – and it was not without its challenges.

The residency supported the practices of 53 artists in 2019! Fifty-three!! We had to count twice. And we worked with even more brilliant Cork based artists on community engagement projects.

We continued working with Carol Anne Connolly as she further developed her community practice in Glenbower Wood. We published a lovely document of the project that can be found online here.

We worked with performer and storyteller Noelle O’Reagan, who in collaboration with sculptor Rob Ireson, led 6 sessions of Forest School for teenagers. Other creative opportunities for over 12s included a summer Zine Making workshop and a Street Art workshop. And all ages of Scouts went into the wood to build bower bird inspired shelters with artist Aoife Desmond.
Screenshot 2019-12-31 at 15.04.562019 saw our second edition of the revival of Killeagh’s May Sunday Festival. Over 1,000 people participated in the weekend. We kicked off with lantern making and a torchlight procession, told stories, heard music at Greywood Arts and in all the pubs, and installed Julie Sue Fiscella’s Meditation Tower in Glenbower Wood. We also presented one of our most meaningful community projects come together thanks to visiting German choreographer Isabel Bernhard. Cracks & Whispers was an intergenerational devised dance performance and photography project in collaboration with Mario Soose that had an incredibly deep impact on its participants and left a lasting impression on its audiences.

Over the summer we started a tradition of communal meals thanks to Australian artist Josephine Jakobi, and it has continued in her absence. This year, we hosted artists from the U.S., Mexico, Israel, Germany, Wales, England, Estonia, Canada, Sweden, South Africa, and of course from all over the isle of Ireland. We find that the type of artists who visit Greywood are authentic, generous, present and engaged. They are curious, kind and considerate. We’re grateful for getting to spend some time with all of these brilliant souls.

Screenshot 2019-12-31 at 15.04.42

Twice we hosted the Lazy River Band – a group of the loveliest local gents playing Americana and other music straight from the heart. Dancing away to their songs at August’s Music and a Meal was a highlight of my year. We also danced with Joanna Rotkin, screened films by Hannah RW Hamalian, and were taken over by the mysterious ‘Unnameable’ creatures of Hannah J Moulds. 

We also launched Crossing the Dissour: an online journal about creative process, and with the help of editors Ryan Mihaly and K. Abram, and 26 contributors, we saw two issues come to fruition.

This autumn saw our first edition of Unexpected Spaces Public Art Programme, which we are delighted to say will become an annual event. Robert Hais, a Swedish artist with an extensive public art practice, joined us for a month to create Exitman: Ireland. This bespoke animation included motion capture of locals and was projected on the Old Mill building for a weekend in October, and stands alongside Exitman projects in Stockholm and Brooklyn. We also had a crochet workshop with Elizabeth Stepney that led to yarn-bombing the village, street art pasted and painted by teens, and a family workshop based on concepts from Hais’ works. It was joyful to temporarily transform public spaces with a bit of magic and ingenuity.
Coach House LiamOLearyProbably the biggest, most exciting and most challenging endeavor of 2019 was the launch of our COACH HOUSE CREATIVE HUB project. We have big plans for a rural arts centre adjacent to the residency. We have identified the need for artist studios, arts education space, and a flexible event and exhibition space to support the growth of our community programmes, and have secured planning permission. We’ve made significant headway with funding the project, but still have a long way to go – approximately €150,000! Our first fundraiser, a Christmas Market, was a smashing success – and you’ll certainly see more opportunities to support this important development in the coming year.

There are so many people we want to thank for making this year happen. Too many to call by name here, and we know we’ve left some out. We’re grateful for all the support we receive – from our dedicated board and fundraising committee, to all the individuals and families that attend our events. Cork County Council’s Arts and Heritage Departments, alongside our local councilors, have shown their belief in the importance of creativity through their support of our community and public art residencies and other community projects. Our amazing work exchange participants Kate & Sarah have helped make things run smoothly behind the scenes and deserve tremendous recognition. And we had our first TY work experience student, Liam, who has become a much appreciated volunteer. THANK YOU ALL!


Isabel Bernhard & cast of Cracks & Whispers by Mario Soose

2020 is a year for strategy. For planning and improving – from the big picture to the daily details. We’ll be working towards more funded residency opportunities. I’ll be carrying forward the knowledge gained achieving a special purpose award in enterprise development from CIT through the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN) facilitated by SECAD this year, and I look forward to learning from the Irish Social Business Campus (ISBC), who specialise in supporting social enterprises in Ireland. 

2020 is the year we lay the foundation for future successes.

Our vision is to create a welcoming place where creativity and growth are nurtured. We want to support professional artists in their exploration of ideas and techniques. And we want to hold space for our local community to come together and explore self-expression. And we hope you will continue with us on that journey in the new year.

We wish you a new year filled with creativity, love and happiness.

Jessica Bonenfant
Artistic Director

Things to look forward to in 2020:

  • Announcement of 2020 residency awards
  • New Art Club for secondary school students & creative practice courses for adults.
  • Prose and poetry readings from the Winter Writing Residency Award winners Madeline Beach Carey and Angela T. Carr.
  • Continuation of the Arboreal Book Club with Carol Anne Connolly.
  • Our first family residency.
  • Spring community projects with artist-in-residence Aoife Banville
  • Coach House Project Gala
  • May Sunday Festival
  • Continued partnerships with the Monday Club Active Retired Group, St. Fergal’s National School, Inch Foróige youth group & Killeagh Scouts.

2020 Winter Writing Residency Award Winners!

This year – wow! We received 45% more applications than last year. It was amazing to see interest in the award grow, but it also meant that selecting winners was tougher than ever before. And behind each submission we read is a person – someone who has poured time, craft and passion into what they shared with us. We know how vulnerable it is to put your work out there to be scrutinised, so we want to say a heartfelt thank you to all the writers who shared their work with us.

We would like to congratulate Madeline Beach Carey and Angela T. Carr, the recipients of this year’s Winter Writing Residency Award on their outstanding entries. Each author will receive a week long residency in 2020, and Greywood Arts will host a reading of their work in the library. We can’t wait!

We’d also like to thank last year’s awardees, Aisling Flynn and Emily S. Cooper, for helping make the 2020 selection.


carey photoMadeline Beach Carey
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Madeline studied literature and creative 
writing at Bard College. Since 2000 she has lived in Barcelona, Spain where she has worked as an editor, translator, cultural manager, and speechwriter.

Madeline’s stories and essays have been published in American literary journals as well as Catalan magazines. Her fiction has been supported by grants from Bread
Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont and the Edward Albee Foundation in New York.

In 2019 she was a fellow in fiction at Hawthornden in Scotland and in political
philosophy at the Faber Residency in Olot, Spain.

During her stay at Greywood she will be working on a novella, On the Flight Patterns
of Some Exotic Birds.

You can read selections of her work at


AngelaTCarr_Headshot_BWAngela T. Carr
Angela is a poet, editor and creative writing facilitator. Her debut collection How to Lose Your Home & Save Your Life was published by Bradshaw Books in 2014. Winner of the 2019 IYeats International Poetry Prize and The Poetry Business 2018 Laureate’s Prize, chosen by Carol Ann Duffy, her work has been placed or shortlisted in over 40 national and international competitions. She is published in literary journals and anthologies in Ireland, the UK and US, including The North, The Lonely Crowd, The London Magazine, Mslexia and Banshee. Originally from Glasgow, she lives in Dublin. More at