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50 Ways to Leave Dún Laoghaire

Artist Name(s) Ciarán Taylor & Carpet Theatre
Artwork title 50 Ways to Leave Dún Laoghaire
Context/Background The commission for this project was to create a once off art work for the east of County Dublin. The artist chose Dún Laoghaire’s ferry terminal, a defining feature of the town and county, to stage a promenade performance.  The location holds strong resonance nationally as a prime connection to Britain over two centuries. Most Irish people can conjure memories of passing through Dún Laoghaire harbour as emigrants or travellers. The new foot passenger terminal is a very different experience from the old B&I ferry terminal at the Carlisle Pier. It has the feeling of an airport with security checks, luggage belts and enclosed gangways. Leaving and arriving remain constants.  For many citizens of Dún Laoghaire the twice-daily ferry's arrival and departure is seldom noticed; a background occurrence. The commissioned piece aimed to connect the town to the terminal and to register its significance. The audience’s walk from the Pavilion Theatre (which overlooks the port) to the plaza in front of the terminal physically marked this link. The audience could see a pattern emerge from the everyday as the performers arrived on to the plaza from various directions and became indistinguishable from bystanders by their collective action.   With the familiar architecture now animated as a performance space, the audience entered the building for an experience which was about meaning rather than function. They were not there to leave, return or see people off, but to observe and reflect on the function of the place and its significance. It was a moment about identity and how it might mean different things, and at different times, from the personal, local and national perspectives.

A promenade performance in Dún Laoghaire Ferry Terminal, created by Ciarán Taylor with Carpet Theatre. It explored themes of departure, return and our complex relations with Britain and featured character movement with a specially devised live score performed on electric guitar, cello, violin and percussion. 

The audience assembled at the Pavilion Theatre where Stena Line staff lead a father and son, rushing for the ferry, down the hill. On the way they met musicians who accompanied the arrival of other characters on the plaza. Entering the terminal to catch a phantom ferry, the audience then witnessed a host of recognisable characters and get caught up in a pattern of meetings and partings. The style was movement-based with some dialogue. Inspired by observations in the terminal, the piece used the building to create real images and surreal extensions. Six actors constantly changed character and costume, evoking fragmented narratives through multiple accelerating entrances and exits until the departing ships horn signalled a return to silent waiting.


Metro, 11 July, 2008

 Irish Times, Ticket listing, 11 July, 2008

Tallaght Voice, 10 July, 2008

Malahide Gazette, 6 July, 2008

Radio coverage on Lyric FM and local television 

Posters and flyers were distributed throughout the county.


Ciarán Taylor trained in directing at the University of Kent at Canterbury, and devising at Ecole Jacques Lecoq, Paris. Other devised work for Carpet Theatre includes the site-specific Wexford Fire Station Tour (Wexford County Council commission) which interpreted the new station through movement and music; Two for Dinner for Two (Dublin City Council commission) in collaboration with Concorde Contemporary Music Ensemble, which featured live cooking and toured Ireland, Bulgaria and Romania in 2007; Spellbound / Faoi GheasaWheel a mask playHyde and Jekyll, which toured Prague in 2004 as part of the Irish EU Presidency Cultural Programme; Bridie and Violet for the City Arts Centre, and Visiting Hour for Clonmel Hospital and Bronglais Hospital in Wales.  

He directed Hang Gliding, a double-bill of Welsh plays, Melty Mack by Shane O’Neil, and the first Irish production of A Family Affair. He has also directed for Down to Earth Theatre, Bull Alley College acting course, Galway Youth Theatre, and Limerick Youth Theatre. His acting work includes A Cry from Heaven (Abbey Theatre); Fair CityThe Clinic (RTE); Rí Rá, and Ros na Rún (TG4).

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
Commissioning process Open Competition
Project commission dates January 4, 2008 - January 7, 2008
Public Presentation dates November 7, 2008 - December 7, 2008
Artform Theatre
Funded By Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 35000 - 70000 euro
Project commission start date 04/01/2008
Project commission end date 07/01/2008
Location Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown 
County Dublin
Town Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown
Street Address Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Ciara King
Relationship to project Public Art Programme Administrator
Public engagement

The artist and performers resided in Dún Laoghaire for five weeks, spent time observing the terminal, and had formal and informal contact with local people in relation to the project. The artist conducted research with port staff and police during multiple site visits. As such they had a part in the creation of a piece which was made for and performed in their workplace.

During numerous rehearsals on site (indoors and outdoors) staff, travellers and public on the plaza, and in the café saw work in progress and engaged with the performers and the material. The performances were over-subscribed and attracted a wide audience from Dún Laoghaire and greater Dublin.

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Actors: Bryan Burroughs, Maud Hendrix, Ruth Lehane, Ian Llyod-Anderson, Karl Quinn, Lorna Quinn.
Musicians: Jack Cawley. Christophe Capewell, Kim Porcelli
Costume Designer: Miriam Duffy
Ushers/ Actors: Irene O’Mara , John A. Murphy 
Graphic Designer: Declan Greene
Photographer: Ros Kavanagh
Heritage Officer, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council: Tim Carey
Public Art Programme Administrator, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council: Ciara King