Painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of empty fireplace, Fanad, Donegal

"Tinteán Tréigthe no.32", 42 x 42cm, oil painting on canvas by Eoin Mac Lochlainn, 2017

It’s Irish Language Week in Ireland this week so I've written my post in Irish. But please scroll down to read the English translation down below, if you wish. 

Tá scéailín deas agam daoibh faoin bpictiúr seo ag barr. Is é tinteán mo shin-sheanmháthair atá ann, tinteán i sean teach thuas ar leithinis na Fánaide i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill.

Emily McGloughlin ab ainm di agus ba leathdheirfiúr í le Pádraig Mac Piarais. Rugadh i mBaile Átha Cliath í ach bhí sí ag obair ar feadh tréimhse mar bhean chabhrach (midwife) thuas i Fánaid. Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi go raibh cónaí uirthi i dteachaín beag deas in ascaill ghleanna, áit eicint in aice le Ros na Cille, in iarthar na leithinise.

Photo of Emily McGloughlin nee Pearse

Emily McGloughlin -- photo courtesy of Páraic Mac Lochlainn

Bhuel, bhí an t-ádh linn. D’aimsigh muid an teach seo gan mórán stró ach faraor, bhí an dian tite isteach agus bhí driseacha agus eidhneán ag fás san seomra suí(!). Ach bhí crann úll fós ag fás lasmuigh, bhí toranna spíonán sa ghairdín cúil agus bhí srutháinín deas ag boilgearnach leis in aice láimhe.

Agus fiú má bhí sé truamhéalach anois, bhí suaimhneas iontach le mothú ann, agus is cinnte go raibh mo shin-sheanmháthair ag breathnú anuas orainn le grá ina croí.

photo by Eoi Mac Lochlainn of Mise outside my great grandmother's house in Fanad, Co. Donegal

Outside my great grandmother's house in Fanad, County Donegal

Believe it or not -- the derelict fireplace in the painting at the top is from my great grandmother’s cottage near Rosnakill in County Donegal. You can read about how I discovered this cottage in a previous blog post at

My great grandmother Emily McGloughlin was born in Dublin. She was a nurse / midwife and she worked up in County Donegal for over 30 years. When you see her cottage now, it really brings home to you how different her life must’ve been back then.

It was just a one-room cottage – no electricity, no ensuite(!), no running water (although there’s a little stream burbling its way past the back of the house). It was part of a ‘clachan,’ a cluster of stone cottages in a shady hollow, not quite a village . . . and we were told that the house on the left was Nurse McGloughlin’s.

It was very nice to be there. I think we could feel her gentle spirit smiling down on us. There was an ancient apple tree growing outside, and some gooseberry bushes.


The heading on my post today -- Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin -- means: there’s no fireplace like your own fireplace, or: there’s no place like home. I've painted many empty fireplaces in recent years, from all over the west of Ireland, but I'm particularly fond of this one, as you might imagine.

It will feature in the exhibition "Silent Stories" which opens at the Belltable in Limerick city this Saturday, the 11th of March. This is a 2-person show with another Irish artist Miriam McConnon, and the exhibition is curated by Olivier Cornet. More information at -

Views: 177

Tags: Arts, Gaeilge, Living History, Visual Arts

Comment by Fran Reddy on March 7, 2017 at 5:53pm

Eoin, I truly thought this was a photograph! You are very talented as an artist as well as a writer! Great that you got to pay a visit to the old homestead and create such a wonderful scene!

Comment by Eoin Mac Lochlainn on March 7, 2017 at 5:58pm

Thank you very much Fran, nice to hear from you, eoin

Comment by Mary Ann Fiore on March 15, 2017 at 3:49pm

I agree with Fran Reddy, Eoin, that the painting of your great grandmother's fireplace was a photo ! Just exquisite ! And the heading on your post brought back memories of  taking informal Irish classes from a musician friend from Castlebar...he had us write that saying down and memorize it. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work and evoking great memories.

Comment by Eoin Mac Lochlainn on March 15, 2017 at 3:58pm

Thank you very much Mary Ann.  Well when you reduce the painting down to this size it looks more photographic but I promise, it's a painting alright :-)  Slán go fóill. Happy St Patrick's Day and thanks again, eoin


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