“The New Wing”, Sacred Heart Hospital, Castlebar

The New Wing

December 2018 – April 2019

HSE Per Cent for Art Scheme

Sacred Heart Hospital, Castlebar; St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Castlebar; St. Louis’ CS, Kiltimagh 

"The New Wing" art project explores the turbulent past of the Sacred Heart Hospital (“The Home”), which dates back to “the workhouse” during the Great Famine. It has gone through different stages in its history, but now boasts a new contemporary wing, which can house 74 long stay residents.This is a multifaceted public art project showcasing an array of materials and engagements, with the involvement of the service users, staff, visitors, and the extended community.

The art project "The New Wing" focuses not just on the history of the hospital, but embraces the stories of the old dancehalls in Ireland, the symbolisms of the Crane Bird, and the important role art has played in preserving its identity. 

Some of the works featured are: audio recordings of the old dancehalls told by the service users; instruction dance steps peppered across the corridors of the hospital; handmade flipboxes capturing the dancehalls days through moving images; a documentation of all the old paintings in “The Home” in flipbook format; and a memorial of 1000 origami cranes constructed by local schools as part of an intergenerational project with service users of the day centre.

This is the new phase in the story of “The Home”.