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Future Happiness

John Conway

Portrane Castle (Stella’s Tower)

Future Happiness is a neon sign based on a sketch by John which quotes the phrase “future happiness” from Johnathan Swift’s final letter to an ailing Esther Stella Johnson, titled Stella’s Birthday, March 13, 1727. The work is displayed on the exterior of Portane Castle (locally known as Stella’s Castle). On one hand the work stands for hope, recovery, and prosperity, especially in the historical and recent context of mental healthcare in Portrane. On the other hand it is intended as a Swiftian tribute to a perpetually elusive state of happiness: It is an invitation to consider our (in)ability to find that happiness in the present moment.


Jonathan Cummins

1. St Patrick’s Church, Donabate

2. Piper’s takeaway

3. Grogan’s supermarket

Compliance / Insight brings together several works developed with service users of the NFMHS and researched during Jonathan’s Resort residency. A neon cigarette and distribution centre for tabloid newspapers of drawings of medications and food produced by the service users is located at Piper’s and Grogan’s. Six rings are on display at St Patrick’s church: The result of a further collaboration by the same group of service users with Belfast-based goldsmith Garvan Traynor. The process of producing the rings is examined in a film installed in the church. The artworks offer an enquiry into solidarity, the passage of time, conviviality and tensions between compliance and insight. They highlight art and its processes of enquiry as fundamental to understanding our institutions, those negotiating life within and related communities of care.


Emma Finucane

Lynders Mobile Home and Caravan Park

FLOAT is a response to time spent reflecting and building on research collected while artist in residence in Usher’s Island (2019) and the Resort Residency (2020). It is an artwork that invites the local community to participate. It considers the people of Portrane / Donabate, the patients and staff of St Ita’s past and present, the existing and future patients and staff of the new NFMHS Hospital. It attempts to connect people with place, past, present and future. FLOAT took place on Sunday 3rd October at 11am where the local community entered the sea at Tower Bay beach. The cold water held them as they floated united in their thoughts and actions to acknowledge and care for our individual and collective mental health. The result of this event is exhibited as a video projection displayed in Lynders Mobile Home Park.


Glenn Loughran

Along the coastal wall of Portrane peninsula

Following on from his residency in Usher’s Island, Glenn presents PARA-RADIO: two small wooden structures which broadcast audio work designed to fit into architectural spaces along the coastal walls of the Portrane peninsula. Creating feedback loops between St Ita’s Hospital and the surrounding natural environment, PARA-RADIO broadcasts live audio soundings, recordings from St Ita’s radio archive, and audio created during workshops with service users of the NFMHS which took place in Usher’s Island in 2019.

Site1: Installed at a mid-point along the coastal wall beside a blocked-up gate. This unit broadcasts a specially commissioned audio history of St Ita’s hospital radio by local hero STEREO JACK.

Site2: Installed in the Cliff Shelter at the coastal entrance to St Ita’s Hospital. This work broadcasts soundings and songs from environmental themed workshops developed with NFMHS service
users in Usher’s Island.

St. Ita’s Hospital ↗
To St Patrick’s Church, Donabate
Portrane Beach
Portrane to Donabate
Cliff Walk
Irish Sea