Artist Name(s) Deirdre O'Mahony
Artwork title X-PO
Context/Background X-PO began life as a public art project by Deirdre O'Mahony that sought to actively engage rural audiences. The project offered local people space and time to review, recall and renew core values and priorities. The project is located in the former post office at Kilnaboy Cross, County Clare.

Kilnaboy is a scattered parish of a few hundred households in the West of Ireland. A national school and a church are all that it possesses in the way of civic amenities, there is no pub, no shop. Once there were a couple of shops, a blacksmith, and a post office. The problem of rural isolation has emerged as a reality for many people.

The changing face of farming and the necessity for many of a long daily commute have presented a challenge to people in places like Kilnaboy. Questions have emerged such as how to retain a sense of belonging, how to include incomers and how to provide for the youth? These are questions faced in villages and townlands all over Ireland.


Deirdre O'Mahony and members of various communities, longstanding groups, newcomers, interested parties and artists spent a year looking at ways of answering the questions highlighted above. In re-activating the post office, a space with a history of being a site of exchange and social contact, the artist enabled the collective articulation of community history from within and without the place. The project, led by O'Mahony, facilitated groups in visualizing the representation of their history.

There was a curated programme of exhibitions by contemporary artists that addressed these key issues in rural areas. Contested historical representations and events, the loneliness and isolation experienced by many, relationships between locals and newcomers and the social and ecological effects of changes in agricultural policies have been the subjects of the curated programme at X-PO. The project began in September 2007 when O'Mahony took tenure of the post office house, and while clearing and cleaning the space, she began to archive of the contents of the former post office and the home, of the postmaster John Martin 'Mattie' Rynne. There then followed a program of exhibitions by contemporary artists, talks, and club meetings, that enabled different groups using X-PO to experience how art practices might direct and inform their own public exhibitions.

The conversation generated about and around this program determined the course of the project and the installations and events that followed. A mapping group and a local history research group, the Rinnamona Research Group, were prompted to exhibit their particular re-presentation of their local place and knowledge in the context of the X-PO. Four separate archives were made covering different aspects of local knowledge including an archive of photographs of the locality taken from local man Peter Rees' collection, of over 25,000 photographs. The exhibition programme initiated by Deirdre O'Mahony for the X-PO continued under the direction of the X-PO culture team, until the end of 2009 through the contributions of the community and volunteer invigilation.

Most recently links have been made with East Clare's Inniscealtra Festival, and the exhibition by the Raheen Day Hospital art group Wise Ways was exhibited in the X-PO. Local schoolchildren and users of the X-PO in Kilnaboy were able to partake in workshops facilitated by IMMA and given by artist Terry O'Farrell, in making representations in clay of their own parent's and grandparent's wise ways, adding to the collective knowledge of the Inniscealtra project. 

The primary objective of the X-PO was for the space to become a self-sustaining community resource. A team of volunteers now directs the project as a reflective space and social and cultural contact point. Clubs are established for set dancing, mapping and tracing local history, Irish conversation, singers and players. To date the project has been entirely funded through donations and fundraisers. The Culture Team endorsed the ethos of the exiting curatorial programme; that of mixing local exhibitions initiated within the local communities, and work by contemporary artists dealing with issues arising within Irish rural society today.The opportunity is open for artists to respond to the site and situation of the X-PO Kilnaboy and submit proposals accompanied by relevant documentation.



A blog was created and can be view at this link: Website Blog

The Clare People and the Clare Champion published various reviews and articles between 2007-2008.

Circa, Issue 123, Spring 2008 published a review by Michaele Cutaya of Mr and Mrs Krap's Utopia

Amanda Dunsmore Video of X-PO Mr and Mrs Kraps Utopia

Circa, Issue 127, Spring 2009 published an article by Michaele Cutaya: Situating art: For a rural context.

Read more about the project at the University of Brighton Centre for Research and Development


Deirdre O'Mahony recieved a BA (Fine Art), St Martins School of Art, London and an MA (Fine Art) from the Crawford College 2005. She is currently researching her PhD through practice at the University of Brighton, titled New Ecologies between Rural Life and Visual Culture in the West of Ireland: History, Context, Position, and Art Practice.??

Selected solo exhibitions include: Local News Siamsa Tire Gallery Tralee (2008), Viscaux, Galway Arts Festival (2006), Wall, Context Gallery Derry and LCGA, (2002) and WRAP Galway Arts Centre (2000). Group exhibitions include: 10,000 to 50, IMMA Dublin (2008), Eire/Land McMullen Museum Boston (2003). Awards include Pollock-Krasner Foundation fellowship 1995, and bursaries, professional development award, Travel Awards and project awards from The Arts Council of Ireland (1997/2001/2006).

Public art projects include CROSS LAND 2007 for Clare County Council's Ground Up programme of public art in rural contexts in Ireland.?? She was joint co-ordinator of the Shifting Ground partnership project and conference on cultural strategies and initiatives for rural contexts between Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Clare County Council.

O'Mahony is a full time lecturer in Painting at GMIT.

Commission Type The Arts Council
Commissioner Name Self initiated
Project commission dates January 8, 2007 - January 8, 2008
Public Presentation dates December 9, 2007 - January 1, 1970
Artform Visual Arts
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By The Arts Council,Other
Budget Range 0 - 10000 euro
Project commission start date 08/01/2007
Project commission end date 08/01/2008
Location Kilnaboy Cross, Kilnaboy
County Clare
Town Kilnaboy
Street Address Kilnaboy Cross, Kilanboy, Co Clare
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Website www.x-po.ie/
Content contributor(s) Deirdre O'Mahony
Relationship to project Artist/Project director/Curator
Public engagement

Local communities

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Artists: Amanda Dunsmore, Jim Vaughan, Eileen Healy, Peter Rees, The Rinnamona Research Group: Anne Byrne, Mary Moroney, John Ruane, Sean Roche and Francis Whelan, Sean Taylor, Megs Morely, Terry O'Farrell, The Raheen Hospital Day Centre, Kilnaboy NS, Michael Fortune.
Writer/Evaluator: Jay Koh,
Writer: Michaele Cutaya



Per cent for art commission | Scoil an Athar Tadhg, Co. Cork

05 August 2022

Scoil an Athar Tadhg in Cork wish to commission artist(s) to submit proposals for a piece (or complimentary pieces) of visual art to reflect the...More..

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