17 May 2022

Eco Showboat project launched in Kilkenny

Floating art studio and science lab aim to connect communities to build a zero-carbon future


O'Neill family from Talbot's Inch and Helen Carroll PICTURES: Vicky Comerford

Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan was on hand to launch the Eco Showboat project — an ecological floating arts lab which, when it is built, will connect communities along waterways across Ireland to help spark climate action.

The project is the brainchild of artists Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly of the School of Looking in Kilkenny. Throughout the pandemic they have been working to transform a century old heritage barge into a zero carbon vessel suitable for the Eco Showboat expeditions on the inland waterways.

The event took place on Sunday, Water Heritage Day, and saw the launch of the Eco Showboat website and an exhibition of the Showboat design drawings as part of a unique event bringing together artists, scientists and the community in the open air on the banks of the River Nore in Kilkenny. Dr Aoibhéann Bird of the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics also ran a number of workshops for families during the afternoon.

The aim of the project is to spark a countrywide artistic response to climate change. Those involved in the project will collaborate with the creative, scientific, and wider communities they meet along the way, to awaken a better understanding of the beauty, possibilities and problems of fresh water. Ultimately they will aim to spark widespread action in response to the challenges we face in the climate crisis.

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