nicky deeley

The Beasts of…Lismore
-the story and locations

The Beasts of…Lismore
-the story and locations



When the stars align, the bottomless Bay Lough, an uncanny glacial lake at the crest of the nearby Vee mountains, transforms into a door between worlds.
St Carthage Hall. where the story of the Beasts in Lismore begins. Here the audience was met with a gallery assistant from Lismore Castle Arts, and be able to pick up a free project map and the project merchandise. 

The work shown in the Hall is over 40 unframed works on paper and 10 framed A2 works on paper
and an eight minute film shown on a flat screen monitor.

St Carthage Hall.

The town fountain, nicknamed, ‘The Spout’ is on a busy stretch of the road into town. 
As the spout is unable to have any permanent additions I removed instead of adding.
Utilising the two drain holes in the basin I scratched iconography of the beast ( eyes, mouth, horns ) into the thick slime on the stone, drawing by cleaning….
The drain holes became eyes and the face is surrounded by stars which are mentioned in the overall story.

The river below the town is the permanent location of 
‘The Star Stone’ a permanent message from the past made by Lismore residents to warn those in the future to always watch the Lough (lake), and to be vigilant for the appearance of the beasts.

‘O’er bay Lough,
When stars align,
On Lismore folk,
The beasties dine.’

The ‘Star Stone’ combines the work of two local artists; 

The poem was written by poet Lynda D. 

The stone carving was designed and carved by sculptor Philip Quinn from Stone Mad Sculpture Workshop.

A vacant home in the centre of town. With permission, I created an architectural intervention, painting weathered symbols of beasts, eyes and stars on the bargeboards. 
They are permanently installed there.

Director of Lismore Castle Arts Eamonn Maxwell explaining the mysterious symbols.

A vacant house has aggressive claw marks etched into the shutters.

The doors and shutters were made by local carpenter, 
John Walsh.

The popular local cafe The Summerhouse hosted the drawings created from the children’s beast drawing workshop held in the main gallery of Lismore Castle Arts.

Lady Louisa’s Walk is the nature walk which circles below Lismore leading from the river, back to the high street.

I inserted a lucky talisman for the town to protect them from the beasts in the future. 

A gargoyle in which townspeople insert their fingers into the beasts eyes in order to gather favour and luck. 

The raw stone was sourced by local stone mason and artist 
Philip Quinn, carved by me, and installed by Philip.

Eyes waiting for fingers to ward off the bad luck from the beasts visits…

The hand makes a particular shape with the fingers. 
This hand shape is repeated as hanging good luck talismans, found  through out the town.

Selected shop and business windows has knitted beasts hidden in them. 
All of these toys were created by local craftspeople, Angela Niven and Dairiona Lee.

The Post Office. 
Window display of maps and a knitted beast.

The local guest house/bed and breakfast. 
The owner Katherine hosted a knitted creature in the window.

A private residence of local artist Corina Duyn who hosted a knitted creature in her front room which can be seen by passers by. She has a wonderful art studio in her garden.

The Gift Shop.
Window display of knitted beasts.

Private residence which the owners have kept the wonderful old shop display. 
They have curated their own collection of local historical objects and were kind enough to let me insert several invented historical objects which support the story.

In among the bottles are …

Howling Cider.

Star and Claw Jam.

Luces Imp Port.

Vacant store which the owner kindly let me display a large display from local club, ‘The Lismore Mythological Beast Heritage Society’. (L.M.B.H.S)

The display contained a archeological collection from the society including ; 
fragments of manuscripts, pottery bowls, drawings on birch bark, and clay icons.

Details of the items shown in the window display. 
Each item is cataloged and marked with the archive serial number.

Icons. Notice the distinctive staring eyes, and branched horns.

Small offering pots, with hulking creatures also with similar staring eyes and branchlike horns.  The cross hatching in the background possibly represents water which could be a reference to Bay Lough.

Seals, used to authenticate letters and corrospondence. 
The inscricption reads; ‘Cavendo Tutus’ – Safety through caution. 
The family motto of the Devonshire family and owners of Lismore Castle. 
Is this a reference to keeping a vigilant eye towards the Lough and its inhabitants?

These are the exact hand gesture that is made when using the lucky stone talisman on the nature walk. 
Bronze and string they are hung in the doorways and windows of business in order to ward off bad luck associated with the beasts. 
I sculpted the positive and all the bronze editions were cast in bronze by sculptor Philip Quinn using traditional dung casting techniques which gave them an amazing patina.

Talisman hung in the right hand panel of the main window.

The Library. 
I created a display of books monster cut outs and monster based books for the children’s section.

The Icehouse in Mellenium Park, which was used for refridgeration until earlier this century.

The icehouse’s  eerie, deep well contains a bundle of mummified furs and branches. Locals have been daring to throw lucky coins onto the object for years.

The hibernating Beast…..

The old shoe shop, on the high street,  now vacant.
Clawed, raked shutters indicate some kind of violent activity.

Carpentry by John Walsh.

Pewter and copper drinking tankards which are engraved with beast imagery, on display behind the bar and on the mantle piece above the fire.

All the exhibits stayed in place for the entire summer, and some such as the stones and bargeboards will remain for the for seeable future…..