Once upon a time there was a huge ancient forest, filled with prowling wolves, thorny trees and Iron Age forts… Fast-forward to 2012, and the wolves have been hunted to extinction, and all that remains of the great ‘Scaldwood Forest’ are a few pockets of trees dotted about here and there around Blanchardstown. Don’t worry though. They built a massive retail shopping mecca in its place.
But if Blanchardstown’s legacy of mysterious woodlands appeals to you more than a multi-storey Penneys, you might find solace within the walls of Draiocht, one of the cultural institutions that sits juxtaposed with the Centre’s multitude of fast food and fast fashion outlets. Current artist-in-residence Deirdre Byrne spent her time working in the arts centre mining local topological and cultural history. Scaldwood’s vast deforestation, and the once-pervasive fear of wolf-attack following their consequential loss of habitat (culminating in a brutal ‘Wolf Cull’ in 1652), seem to have slipped away from the popular consciousness of the area, and Byrne revives this rich legacy through her art. Multi-layered drawings infuse modern-day Blanch with Byrne’s reconstruction of Scaldwood as it once was, disseminating the rapid changes in wildlife, landscape and habitat that urbanisation has caused.
Catch it at: Draiocht, Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, from June 14th until September 1st