The Inishlacken Project

First broadcast: Sunday 28 March 2021, 6 pm, in The Lyric Feature, RTÉ lyric fm. Re-broadcast Sunday 12 December 2021.

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In 1951 the Belfast artist James MacIntyre spent a summer on the tiny island of Inishlacken, just off the Galway coast, with fellow artists Gerard Dillon and George Campbell. Years later, he wrote a lively account of the mishaps, friendships and inspirations of that summer in his book Three Men on an Island.

James MacIntyre’s book in turn inspired Belfast artist Rosie McGurran, now based in Roundstone in Co Galway, to set up the Inishlacken Project, which every year gives a group of artists the opportunity to spend a week working on the island.

The programme tells the story of the 2020 Inishlacken Project, which survives the pandemic to take place in modified form. We accompany the founder of the Project, Rosie McGurran, and her fellow artists Una Sealy, Michael Doherty, Dorothy Smith, Noah Rose, Selma Makela, Mick O’Dea and Barbara Allen, and discover how the island inspires them all in different ways.

Extracts from James MacIntyre’s book Three Men on an Island are read by Joseph O’Hagan.

The programme is presented and produced by Claire Cunningham and is a Rockfinch Production for RTÉ lyric fm funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland from the Television Licence Fee. Sound supervision by Tinpot Productions.

The cottage (centre) on Inishlacken Island where James MacIntyre, Gerard Dillon and George Campbell stayed in the summer of 1951. Restored schoolhouse on right.