Project details

For the third instalment of Lay of the Land’s annual outdoor residency & exhibition, the project found itself at the foot of Knockomagh Wood Nature Reserve, just a few miles south of Skibbereen in West Cork. The reserve is located next to the famous Lough Hyne Marine Reserve which is a salt water lake fed from the Atlantic Ocean.

Knockomagh Wood meaning ‘crooked hill’ stands at 197m. Several walking trails lead to the summit which boasts stunning views of Lough Hyne and the West Cork coast. The woods are planted with sessile oaks, beech and bluebell glades and cottage ruins can be found on the walk up to the summit.

Four artists, Clare Henderson, Kari Cahill, Hazel Mc Cague and Helena Doyle engaged with the landscape at Knockomagh Wood Nature Reserve. During their time spent in the surrounds they developed and produced site responsive sculptural installations

Outside of the studio, the artists worked in a manner and on a scale that the landscape dictated. Coupled with the immersive and collaborative aspect of the process, this provided a greater openness and freeness of experimentation, which ultimately produced innovative and informed sculptural works of art.


For the culmination of the project the public were invited to journey to the woodland to experience the site and the works that respond to it. The exhibition was open to the public over the weekend of the 21st-23rd of September, 2018. 

SILVA 2018 was funded by the Arts Council of Ireland through their Festival Investments Scheme, and by the Cork County Council’s Arts Grant 2018.



Filmed by Documentary Filmmaker Fellipe Lopes over the build and exhibition weekend, the SILVA documentary follows the creative journey from initial ideas to finished pieces through the site at Knockomagh Wood.

If you are interested in screening the documentary for educational or cultural purposes please get in touch with us!




A new roof was created by Helena Doyle for the ruin of McCarthy’s cottage. She connected the tops of the remaining walls with the tree that grows in the centre of it. The bright yellow lines created using builders twine were held in place with the original stones from the walls that lay on the ground around the cottage. The lines spiralled out from the tree and in certain light gave the appearance of sun rays.

4m x 5m
Builders Twine, Tree Trunk, Logs, Stone Ruin

2ft SQ

Skibbereen and it’s surrounding hinterlands were one of the most devastated by the Great Famine of the 1840’s with Lough Hyne losing nearly half of it’s population. Many were forced to abandon their homes in an attempt to seek food and shelter.

At this time the Skibbereen Workhouse was so overcrowded that each person was allowed occupy only 2ft SQ of floor space. The footprint of the cube represents this space and the audience were invited to sit or stand on the cube and contemplate this austere time in our history. 

2ft x 2ft x 2ft
Concrete Slabs, Ply Board Box, Screws

Southwest to Northeast & North to South

Using carabiners and material sourced at Union Hall pier, Helena Doyle suspended two zip lines in the tree canopy, running across and above the exhibition trail.

Several stations were dotted along the trail where audience members were invited to interact with the zip line, sending pieces of material down and back up again. Helena created a playful engagement with the artistic interventions she created.

30m each
Paracord, recycled materials from Union Hall pier, carabiners.



The piece hangs from a single point causing it to twirl around. The bright yellow patterned fabric is animated by the gentlest of breezes. 

3m x 3m
Recycled Aviation Material, Log, String


To one side of the clearing, a path cuts through the hill and leads up to an elevated area. Inspired to connect both sides Helena Doyle attached a simple pulley to a tree on either side and connected them with natural twine. She tied newly fallen conkers to the line. Visitors were invited to move the conkers across this little valley, over the path and over the heads of others going up the path.   

Natural Twine, Pulleys, Conkers.


The wool draws a relationship between the 3 trees. 3 stones of various shapes and sizes sit on the intersection of wool connected to 3 trees. 

3m x 3mm
Yarn, Stones from the Site, Trees.



There are 4 trees. The wool connects the relationship between 3 of the trees in 4 variations. A physical space of communication is created between them.

3m x 3m
Yarn, Trees.


Helena Doyle created two mobiles hanging from a tree on the main pathway of the site. The two pieces hung simultaneously:

The breeze caused the various sections of the ‘Moss Mobile’ to spin in alternating cycles. Each mossy branch / stick was unique and appeared like it’s own little habitat, while being part of the whole system.  

The most simple and primitive of technologies seemed to achieve a great feat: floating rocks in mid air for Helena’s ‘Rock Mobile’. The very subtle movement in the breeze contrasted with the perceived weight and hardness, created a mesmerising effect.

5m x 5m
Natural twine, Mossy Branches, Rocks, String.


In 1847, the Choctaw Nation collected $170 to send to the Irish victims of the Great Famine – around €4,000 in today’s money. This was despite the Choctaws having undergone their own hardship 16 years earlier when they were forced to move West of the Mississippi in a journey that became known as the “Trail of Tears”.

It is said the tribe heard about the Famine from an Irish man who was implementing the forced displacement West of the Mississippi – many Irish were involved in the mass displacement of the indigenous tribes that spanned decades. As we struggle to deal with the challenges facing our world today, this act of generosity shows us that empathy knows no boundaries, no borders.

The Choctaw sun symbol means "continuous happiness throughout all stages of life". Since prehistoric times the sun cross symbol (a cross within a circle) has been by cultures around the world. It represents the solar calendar, marking the solstices and equinoxes. In this piece Helena Doyle wanted to illustrate the connections between the Choctaw sun and the Celtic cross and how at it’s root the symbol speaks of our collective existence on the earth.

60cm x 60cm
Stones, Conkers, Yellow Gorse Flowers.

Follow this link to see the documentary on the Cocktaw Tribe:



This interactive scales invited visitors to weigh their sticks against their stones. 

4m x 2m 
Natural Twine,Sticks, Stones, Found Wooden Cog from Union Hall pier. 



The piece, created by Kari Cahill, rises from the autumn earth up through the negative space between these ancient trees. The contrasting colour brings attention to the richness of the moss covered flora. These works are visual interpretations of the experience of the site on Knockomagh Hill; mirroring the twisted branches and sparks of light thrown between the leaves. 

As the viewer moves around the piece the works appear to dance between the trees. 

Stretched Canvas, Acrylic Paint, Spray Paint, Eyelets, Builders Twine, Rebar.

ANAIL NA FORAOISE (Breath of the Forrest)

Manipulated lush velvet material evokes a sense of movement and energy rising from the forrest floor and entwining itself with the tree.

1.5m x 12m

Velvet material, steel wire, thread, twine



Based on ideas surrounding ghost stories and their forrest origin in Irish folklore, and the mystical presence of trees in the forest. Clare Henderson created a Camera Obscura made out of a purpose built cubicle/kiosk style structure with an image plane made of stretched muslin. The muslin held a constantly shifting image of the exterior while viewed from the interior of the kiosk.

200cm x 120cm x 120cm approx.
Plywood, Lens, Mirror Finish Polycarbonate.


The third iteration of a flag at a Lay of the Land exhibition, this piece uses symbolism and a play on words. On arrival atop the hill the audience is invited to choose a combination of two flags to signify their ascent: The contour lines of both the lake and the mountain are found on two flags, where as the words SIGHT and SITE are found on two more.

3m x 1.8m
Polyester Material, Cotton, Metal Pole, Fixings, Rebar.


Inspired by the forrest devastation caused by Storm Ophelia, Clare Henderson wrote a poem expressing the experience of Knockomagh Wood through the eyes of a tree.

20cm x 1m
Plyboard, Wood, Screws, Blue Paint Marker. .


WhatsApp Image 2018-05-24 at 14.49.08.jpeg


Kari is a visual artists living between Dublin, and the West Coast of Ireland. Her work emerges as 3d sculptures as well as textural paintings of the natural lanscape. 

She is occupied with the notion that in order to understand where we come from and the elements that form us both evolutionarily and culturally, we must first find a way of accessing the natural world. She believes that this has the potential to create and facilitate a sense of belonging - one that may give us the courage to fight for ourselves and our place in this world. Kari's works are visual interpretations of the experience of the natural world. 

She believes that by drawing the viewer out of the gallery space, and into alternative spaces, she can create and facilitate the production of art works that engage with the audiences inhabiting those spaces.



Helena’s work is mainly driven by the concept of immersion. She creates large scale installations she believes are sanctuary spaces, often inspired by Zen design principles. Her work touches on the sublime and aims to evoke a sense of awe in the viewer. As a scenographer she is interested in creating spaces where upon viewers can place their own narratives.

Helena is a multi-disciplinary artist, filmmaker and educator. She has a BA in Film & TV Production from The National Film School, IADT in Dublin and an MA in Art & Media Practice at University of Westminster, London. She works across mediums including video, Fulldome (films projected on the inside of a dome), performance, large scale aerial sculptures and interactive installations.


clare headshot.jpeg


Clare’s work focusses on images of oceans and seas; on remote islands and on glaciers as a means to discuss the history of exploration, migration and climate change and in doing so, to observe how this might inform our understanding of the human condition.

Clare has been teaching etching in the Graphic Studio Dublin for ten years. In 2013 she co-founded The Floating Press/ Mobile Print Project with the artist Niamh Flanagan. The Mobile Print Project endeavours to take printmaking out of the studio through a series of workshops that teach printmaking in school and business environments.

Clare’s work has been acquired by the National Gallery of Ireland and the Office of Public Works in Dublin, amongst others.



Exposure to new cultures, landscapes, people, places and things has engendered a sense of openness and freedom that has contributed to a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach in her art practice.

Hazel began her career in woven textile design moving towards large scale installations. She loves to work in a variety of mediums from fabric to wood to rope with an emphasis on reusing and repurposing old materials.

Currently, she is getting back to her roots and reconnecting with the landscape. Her work now focuses on the relationship between textile design and sculptural installation. 




Fellipe Lopes is a Brazilian documentary filmmaker who is motivated by the desire to seek out culturally diverse projects and people. His work has taken him from the intense urban environment of São Paulo, to the depths of the Amazon Rainforest where he lived among tribes for six months capturing the essence of their daily lives. He cycled, ran, and walked the Camino di Santiago with his camera. He also creates visual content focussed on the urban environment.  

Lopes’ documentary brings us deeper insight into the making of SILVA as the artists create a series of large scale art installations inspired and informed by the natural woodland overlooking the wild landscape of the Atlantic Coast of Ireland.



Native Tasmanian Eoin is at home in nature. Growing up between Ireland and Australia gave Eoin a rare opportunity to embrace both cultures. He's been working the festival circuit pulling in his engineering degree skills along the way, making him a great asset to the LOTL team! 


Project Photos

SILVA 2018 - Knockomagh Woods.JPG

Behind the scenes photos of how the project came together and the dozens of hands that worked tirelessly to make it all happen. 

Explore the flora and fauna of Knockomagh Wood Nature Reserve in Autumn; the leaves turning orange, a host of mushrooms sprouting from the soil and the incredible West Cork Coastline from the summit of ‘Crooked Hill’.

Follow the audience as they amble through the woodland experiencing the landscape and the works that responded to it.


A very special thanks to Fellipe Lopes for capturing the project.




SILVA took place at

Knockomagh Wood Nature Reserve
Lough Hyne
West Cork


Co-ordinates: 51°30'21.5"N 9°18'31.5"W






We are extremely grateful to everybody that donated to SILVA 2018. We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everybody who came down and helped, cooked, laughed, ate, climbed the hill too many times, took photos, basked in the September sunlight, and braved the torrential downpour during set up.  

SILVA 18 was part funded by the Arts Council of Ireland through their Festival Investments Scheme, and by Cork County Council. We are grateful for the generosity of everyone who contributes to this project.

There were a couple of folk whose generosity really made an impact to what we were able to achieve and we would like to extend a special thank you to…

The SILVA Crew & Volunteers

The National Parks & Wildlife Services

Paddy & Michelle Mc Cormack

Anne De Croix

Ger Cahill

White Mausu

Ray O’Neill & Cathy Burke

Rory Holmes