En Route

Artist Name(s) Aileen Lambert
Artwork title En Route
Context/Background En Route involved a local community in articulating a locality, with an emphasis on routes which were commonly used in the past. Following an appeal in local press and parish newsletters, the artist met with people in the areas of Ballindine and Bekan in South East Mayo. Public tours of sites were conducted on September 2010. The resulting audio tracks featuring people speaking about the routes are available on a double CD from the Arts Department of County Mayo and also on the website, while the project publication is also available from the Arts Department and on the website in PDF format. The publication and CD have been circulated among the community and the wider diaspora in the US, England etc.


A public art project involving the exploration of old routes in the landscape in the Bekan, Ballindine and Tulrahan areas in South East Mayo.

En Route is a public art project by Aileen Lambert which was commissioned by Mayo County Council.

As a complete stranger to the area of South-East Mayo, following some initial desk research and presentations to school and community groups, I placed an appeal in the local media to announce the project and put out a call for people to get in touch with information.

I invited people to share their knowledge of old routes, shortcuts and rights of way, of how they evolved and their experience of using them. The first stage began with phone conversations and informal chats, which led quickly to guided excursions as people showed me the sites and routes which they were familiar with. Documenting with audio recordings and photographs I gradually began to build up a catalogue of sites and routes, many previously undocumented. While some routes are plain to be seen and well documented such as the old railway line in Ballindine other routes exist purely in local memory and in the oral tradition and are known only to a couple of families, such as Fordes’ name for the stile near the bonfire site in Reask: “Grandma’s Steps”.

Stage two featured organised group tours of the sites and routes in September 2010. The people who had introduced me to the sites offered to share their knowledge and experience with others on the tour. However, the majority of the people on the tour were locals, which had the effect of having a large number of ‘guides’ on the tour. Being in a place reignited old memories and experiences and at many points numerous people offered contributions, as one account sparked another memory. Those parts of the tour that were literally ‘en route’, i.e. the traveling on the bus, or walking along a lane or into a field where someone was to point out something, were often the most interesting, with numerous and diverse conversations between people generating multiple narratives.

The project also raised the question as to who has reason or indeed the right to access or cross land. In the recent past, the local network of routes was a necessity and a respected and understood code of conduct regulated many rights of way. It was my intention with the En Route project to create an opportunity for people to access these routes again, and visit new ones.

Video documentation of these tours are featured on the project website. Photographs and accounts of the routes feature on a double CD, with an accompanying 128 page publication entitled En Route, which was launched by Councillor Michael Burke, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, on 22 January 2011, at an event in the Dalton Inn, Claremorris. Jenny Haughton, writer and consultant in the contemporary arts, who contributed a text to the publication was guest speaker.


A double audio CD was produced which features people talking about the old routes, along with an accompanying 128 page publication.

The audio files, and the publication in pdf format were available to download from the project website: www.enroute.ie

Video documentation of the walk events is also features on the website.

Alternatively, the publication and CDs are available by contacting Gaynor Seville, Public Art Coordinator with Mayo County Council - gseville(at)mayococo.ie


Aileen Lambert was born in County Wexford in 1975, where she now lives and works. Aileen studied in LSAD, Limerick between 1993 and 1997, and graduated with an MA in Visual Arts Practices, from DLIADT, Dublin, in January 2007. Her practice spans video, performance and sound work, as well as participatory public art projects.

Much of her solo work is concerned with the relationship which the body has with it’s environment. Using simple actions, gestures, processes, and interventions, she’s traces her body’s presence on the landscape, expressing and documenting the body’s presence in a particular place and time.

Recent solo exhibitions include Come and Gone which was presented in Wexford Arts Centre (Jan ’08), Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda (Jan ’09) and the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar (June ’09). Tide, featuring video, sound and performance was presented in Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, in June ’08, and Within and Without, was presented in Triskel, Cork, in April 2009. Aileen’s video and performance work has been presented in exhibitions and events nationally and internationally including the National Review of Live Art (Glasgow), Festival Miden (Greece), Infr’Action International Performance Art Festival (France), Darklight Film Festival (Dublin), 7000IS (Iceland), Anti Festival of Contemporary Art (Finland), Tulca (Galway), Out of Site (Dublin) and SWGC Art Gallery (Newfoundland).

Aileen has been commissioned by Wexford County Council to undertake a number of public art commissions including Bóthar (Clonroche, 2005), Éist (Ballymurn, 2005) and The Soft Edge (Gorey, 2008). In 2009 Aileen was commissioned by Yale University and The Arts Council to produce new performance work for the School of Divinities in Yale University, Connecticut, US. Aileen was in receipt of a Bursary from Wexford County Council in June 2008, and The Arts Council in 2007 and 2009. She is currently working a public art commission with Fingal County Council and a traditional song project entitled The Wild Bees’ Nest with the National Library of Ireland and the Irish Traditional Music Archive.

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Mayo County Council
Commissioning process Limited Competition (Mayo County Council Public Art Panel)
Project commission dates August 31, 2008 - December 1, 2010
Artform Visual Arts,Traditional Arts,Other
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By Other
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 35000 - 70000 euro
Project commission start date 31/08/2008
Project commission end date 01/12/2010
Location Various locations in South-East Mayo
County Mayo
Website www.mayo.ie/arts/public-art/past-projects/en-route
Content contributor(s) Aileen Lambert
Relationship to project Artist 
Public engagement

Local people in the areas of Ballindine, Tulrahan and Bekan participated in a number of ways. Many walked routes with me and told me about them, and feature on the CD. Many of these, and other (mostly local) people came on the tour. Through the website and the dispersal of the books and cds the work has reached many people locally and internationally. 

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Gaynor Seville, Public Art Co-ordinator with Mayo County Council



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