‘To the Letter’ at Macroom Town Hall this August

A man and a woman standing at a painting

Cork County Council has announced the opening of the successful To The Letter exhibition by Dolores Lyne in Macroom Town Hall at 3pm on Saturday, August 5th. 
Award-winning artist and theatre designer Dolores Lyne has been marking the centenary of her grand-uncle Liam Lynch, Chief of Staff of the Anti-Treaty IRA, with exhibitions and talks across the county. The exhibition was inspired by a trove of personal letters written by Liam to his brother Tom, the confidant in whom he felt safe writing unique letters that covered the most dramatic and tragic events of his life in the War of Independence and the Civil War. 
Announcing the exhibition’s opening in Macroom, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Frank O’Flynn said

I am looking forward to seeing the latest iteration of To The Letter after its successful run in Fermoy earlier this year. The large exhibition space in Macroom Town Hall is the perfect setting for the extensive body of work that Dolores Lyne has created over the course of the project, including paintings, drawings and photography.  The artist’s sensitive approach has created an environment for us to share and commemorate our history.

Dolores followed the letters back to the locations across County Cork where they were written, visiting the remote and beautiful hill farms and the safe houses that provided sanctuary where Liam was protected and cherished. For this exhibition in Macroom, the artist comes closer in miles and in spirit to the Muscraí Gaeltacht in County Cork. It was here that Liam Lynch made one of his most important HQs.  She met the descendants of those who had sheltered him and they shared their stories with her. 100 years later, the Chief of Staff’s grand-niece Dolores retraces his steps to former safe houses in central Cork and Gaeltacht Mhuscraí.
The artworks in the exhibition focus on incidents and stories drawn from the brothers’ correspondence. The letters are brought to life, referencing real places and people only hinted at or concealed behind initials, decoding at last the real addresses, the people who opened their homes and their hearts.  According to Dolores, “There’s the ‘public Liam’ but these are private letters. They provided me with the spark for a personal, non-political contemplation of his last years, the places where he stayed and the people who looked after him. It’s my creative response, as an artist.”
The exhibition in Macroom Town Hall runs from August 5th to 31st and is open from 11am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday. At 2pm on Sunday 13th August, the artist will give a talk on the background to the exhibition and how precious letters become over time. Admission is free and no booking is required.
The “To the Letter” exhibitions were commission by Cork County Council, supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media and the Council’s Library Service and Commemorations Committee.