Listening posts will whisper along Cork quays again

Cork City Council has revealed that refurbishment work is set to take place on the ‘Listening Posts’ installation on Penrose Quay.
Listening posts will whisper along Cork quays again

Cork City Council has revealed that refurbishment work is set to take place on the ‘Listening Posts’ installation on Penrose Quay. Pic: Larry Cummins

THE history of Cork’s Quays is to once again echo across the city.

Cork City Council has revealed that refurbishment work is set to take place on the ‘Listening Posts’ installation on Penrose Quay.

The ‘Listening Posts’, by renowned artists Daphne Wright and Johnny Hanrahan, tell the story of emigration from the quays.

They consist of four stainless steel structures, which play recordings of interviews with hundreds of emigrants, their children and those they left behind, as well as workers who left on the emigrant ships from the city.

The listening posts were first installed in 2006, costing €100,000, echoing the memories of Cork’s history in random sequences 24 hours a day.

The Green Party in Cork have welcomed confirmation that an audio sculpture on Penrose Quay is to be refurbished by Cork City Council following vandalism.

Following a motion by Green Party councillor Oliver Moran, city officials have now confirmed that the refurbishment is expected to be completed by summer 2023.

Mr Moran said: “The restoration of this work comes at an important time. It’s important that the sculpture be restored alongside the new developments taking place on Penrose Quay and at the railway station.

“It’s timely to think about migration too and the pain of having to leave and be separated from home, when there are so many people now seeking sanctuary in our city, displaced by war in Ukraine or coming here to work like we did in London, New York, or Sydney,” he added.

“Listening to the voices and hopes of the emigrants recorded in this work puts context on today and lets us reflect on that experience and our unique understanding in this country of migration and having to leave one’s home for a new one.”

An assessment of the sculpture by city officials and the artists found the structures to be in good condition, with only cosmetic improvements needing to be made. However, further investigation of the power supply in the control box located next to the sculptures is still required to ensure the work can be restored fully.

Mr Moran is continuing to advocate for the improvement of Cork’s heritage sites across the city. He said: “I’m also working with officials to see that Mary MacSwiney Bridge in Blackpool will be properly marked, particularly now as we are coming into a new decade of centenary around the civil war and the first decade of the state.”

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