PENROSE HOUSE ON PENROSE QUAY 2011

LISTENING POST AT SUNSET BY DAPHNE WRIGHT AT PENROSE QUAY

Photographed in May 2019

It is a pity to see a good idea fail because of lack of maintenance and unfortunately Cork City as a whole appears rather run down because of a lack care. Things did improve before the Queen's visit but since then the city has reverted back to its norm.


Not much has changed since I first photographed this public art installation except that there was noting to be heard other than the noise created by some very drunk youths nearby.


Back in 2011 I was walking along Penrose Quay early in the morning and I began to hear voices even though I could nor see anyone. Initially I thought that it was my iPad but after a while I determined that the sound was coming from what I thought was a piece of street furniture. Then I noticed a rather ugly engraved granite block which indicated I was standing beside the "Listening Posts"


The Listening Post monument on Penrose Quay consists of four stainless steel posts (the purpose of which is not at all obvious), which play recordings of interviews with hundreds of emigrants, their descendants, people left behind and ship workers. Penrose Quay was a departure point for emigrant boats in the middle decades of the last century.


The monument was developed by sculptor Daphne Wright, Meridian Theatre Company artistic director Johnny Hanrahan and sound designer Dan Jones. The €100,000 project is the city’s first permanent sound installation.


According to a local newspaper city councillors claim that not many people (local or visitor) have heard the Listening Post monument. “These are supposed to be listening posts. But I’ve never seen anyone listening to them” according to Fianna Fáil Councillor Tom O’Driscoll.


Mr O’Driscoll claims that a worthy project was suffering from a lack of promotion and I must agree with him but to some extent the local authorities are to blame because the area is badly maintained and there was much evidence of on-street consumption of alcohol.
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