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For my next filming and swimming trip I was delighted to be able to contact Donal another swimmer from the Waterford Open Water Society, who is also training to swim the Channel in August, all on his own, in togs, he’s hoping to do it in around 14 hours. He showed me the most amazing cove just past Tramore where there is a group of regular year round swimmers.

I love the commradery of these swimming spots, everyone is always so friendly, a shared crazy passion for cold water. After all the banter of  “cheat” and ” thats not swimming” style rip-taking because I was wearing a wetsuit, they all calmed down when I said I’l go in in togs when I get back, but I had to film first and that’s slow cold work!

This film has a lot of different angles in, I love the upside down leg kicking shots and the bright light. The camera must have slipped up a bit as I was swimming as when I thought I was filming Donal swimming I was actualy filming the sky! All part of the learning curve and I still have lots of footage to go through, this is definately a continual work in progress.

I had contacted the Waterford open water swimming society and arranged to meet Claire and her friends at Clonea Beach on Sunday morning for a swim. It is a beautiful beach in Waterford and I was looking forward to my second water trial out with the ‘Hero’ camera.

Even as I upload these stills from the film I am really excited by the images. I just hope that I will be able to do something worthwhile with them, they are really beautiful.

With this camera you can’t actually see what you are recording, so its not until you get back to a computer then you have to sift through hours of footage. I am new to using film as a medium and am learning fast, I reckon one of the secrets is, don’t shoot hours of footage….

We swam about 1km, but I was a fair bit  behind them, it was only after when we  were chatting they told me that they were training to swim The Channel in relay in August in togs, relay as in the race style, not as in really! That is very impressive.

After seeing the footage from my cameras 2nd trip out I know that I have to try to keep it in one position for longer, and also to stop ajusting it, as my hands were constanly in the shots.

The films I am making are research, it’s like film sketches. At this point I don’t know what the end product will be but I do know that I am very excited about this camera and the possibilities, once I get the hang of how to use it properly!

So this is it, my artists residency begins in Kilkenny No.76 formally No.72, a dream come true.

I drove down a few days early to unload all my materials and equipment at the gallery before the bank holiday weekend. This also gave me a chance to spend the weekend getting to know Kilkenny, and to try to find people to swim with, especially down the River Nore that runs through Kilkenny and right past the arts office….
My art is a combination of painting, sculpture and more recently in-corperating film and animation. Water has always played an important role in my work, recently I have been using water, whirlpools and tornados to represent an internal energy within us all, my art work creates stories that question ideas on how we control this energy, if that’s at all possible; and the consequences of our actions.

Above picture is from my Ballina Arts Centre exhibition in December 2009.

I had just bought a ‘Hero’ camera that is waterproof and you attach to your helmet like the parachute jumpers and mountain bikers use. Luckily it arrived the very morning before I left, and I was dying to try it out. I am hoping that footage from this camera will help inform and develop my new work.

I have used a regular waterproof camera before, this is a photo was taken the week before Kilkenny on the ‘East-West Swim’ with my old pentax camera, its only 5mp but I have had some great work from it. I love the magical effect the water has on the images, you never really know what you’ll get.


I love the colors in this photo below took around two years ago.

In my search for swimmers I emailed the local triathlon clubs and Kayak clubs, the river was too much in spate for just regular swimming but I was really fortunate to hook up with Kilkenny Kayak Club who let me gate crash their Easter Monday canoe trip.

I haven’t canoed in a river for years and would be far happier in the water as to on top of it. I was a bit apprehensive about the weirs, but it was great fun and Phil my co-pilot was very good at steering and putting up with my constant chatting!

Here’s a film of me swimming some rapids in the Nore. I learnt a lot about using this camera, mainly not to be screaming and shouting the whole time.

This film is a bit embarrassing, but if I had edited out all my screaming there wouldn’t be any film left!

This was just a first test drive, and I am looking forward to having longer time to swim with it and obviously get better at using it.

Thanks to my mac-tech friend in Peter in Galway who gave me an over the phone tutorial last night, I can now take still images from the films, from these I can develop drawings and ideas to use in my new work. Below are a few, the quality isn’t printable but I’m delighted you can make the stills.


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Art at No. 76

The aim and focus of the Art Residency at No. 76 is to enable the successful applicant to research and develop their practice. Other aims of the residency are to: give insights into how and why artists create their work, build relationships and further promote the Arts, provide an awareness and further appreciation of the Arts, cultivate and develop new audiences. The Kilkenny Arts Office is part of

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June 2020