Hats off to all those lending a hand for Spike Island play

Artist Rachel Doolin talks about Corcadorca’s new production, community involvement and her upcoming trip to the Arctic
Hats off to all those lending a hand for Spike Island play
Visual artist Rachel Doolin.

TELL us about yourself;

I am a visual artist and mother of one, originally from Dublin. My background is in photography. I initially worked as an assistant to a photographer for several years after secondary school.

In 2010, I returned to college as a mature student, beginning my education with a preliminary arts course at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa and following on to complete a BA in Fine Art at The CIT Crawford College of Art and Design.

Since graduating,I have won several awards including the 2016 Valerie Gleeson Development Bursary, The National Sculpture Factory Graduate Residency Award and the RDS Taylor Art Award in 2015.

Post-college, I have been kept on my toes. I work from my home studio as much as I can, I also work as an early years art practitioner for the BEAG project and am currently facilitating community-engaged workshops for Corcadorca to coincide with their upcoming production Far Away on Spike Island.

Where were you born?


Where do you live?



My husband David, Hugh. our seven-year-old son, and our dog. Samhain.

Best friend?

My hubby, we are a good team.

Earliest childhood memory?

Eating crisps and drinking blackcurrant cordial with a Guinness head in The Lion And Lamb, my parents were publicans in London in the 1980s.

Person you most admire?

My husband, he’s very supportive and caring, he loves a challenge and is willing to give anything a go.

Person who most irritates you?

My husband, LOL!... What can I say, love is a battlefield!

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance and why?

My friend Sinead, she is amazing with money! She would also make sure artists get paid in hard cash, not exposure credits.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

Cycling in Croatia in 2008.

Favourite TV programme?

At the moment I’m obsessed with The Daily Show, American political satire has become a bedtime ritual.

Favourite radio show?

2FM Breakfast Republic, it’s great to have a bit of craic in the morning.

Your signature dish if cooking?

Scrambled eggs with feta, spinach and buttery toast.

Favourite restaurant?

Café Paradiso.

Last book you read?

The Nature Principle, Richard Louv.

Best book you read?

East Of Eden, John Steinbeck.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

The Big Little Lies soundtrack.

Favourite song?

Into My Arms, Nick Cave.

One person you would like to see in concert?

Ludovico Einaudi.

Do you have a pet?

Yes, a dog.

Morning person or night owl?

Night owl definitely, I’m a bit of a daydreamer/night worker!

Your proudest moment?

On a personal level, having my son Hugh in 2010. On a professional level, winning the RDS Taylor Art award in 2015.

Spendthrift or saver?

I try to save when I’m earning money so I can survive when I’m not, this does not always go according to plan.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

We are incredibly lucky to live next door to the Beaumont quarry. It’s an area of undomesticated nature in the city, an urban oasis where the wild things grow. We often go walking there and I gather potential art materials. There is an ongoing cause to protect and preserve the biodiversity of the landscape, which is habitat to a variety of rare plants and wildlife. I would like to see structures in place which prevent illegal dumping and mindless littering in the area and to see it protected into the future.

What makes you happy?

1. Family. 2. Art. 3. Ice-cream. Although sometimes the hierarchy shifts.

How would you like to be remembered?

In general, I don’t like to think about death, it frightens me.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I am currently exhibiting work in Locales, a group show at the Doswell Gallery in Rosscarbery. I am also preparing to travel to the Norwegian Arctic on an artist residency in August.

As previously mentioned, I am facilitating a series of weekend workshops alongside Lisa Zagone at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh as part of Corcadorca’s community engagement initiative. Funded by a Cork County Council Creative Communities Award, the project involves workshop participants creating the elaborate headpieces that will be worn by the large community cast in Corcadorca’s forthcoming production Far Away on Spike Island as part of the Midsummer Festival in June.

There has been a great response to the workshops from the Cobh community. Some really interesting and creative people have signed up, including members of the Cobh Animation Team and parents who have participated with their teenage children. We are constructing the headpieces from a variety of unusual and non-traditional hat making materials to create extraordinary and unique pieces that will echo the spirit of the production.

Far Away runs on Spike Island from June 19 to July 1, excluding Sundays (previews June 16 and 17), during the Cork Midsummer Festival.

Visual artist Rachel Doolin is currently facilitating a series of weekend workshops alongside Lisa Zagone as part of Corcadorca’s community engagement initiative in the run up to the new production.

Funded by a Cork County Council Creative Communities Award, the project involves workshop participants creating the elaborate headpieces that will be worn by the large community cast in the production.

Workshops are now at capacity, but Corcadorca are still on the look- out for the community cast, and no previous acting experience is necessary for these non-speaking roles.

If you are interested in getting involved, get in touch on 021 4215142 or info@corcadorca.com

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