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River Shannon


River Shannon, LimerickGoogle MapsArrow
  • The River Shannon is the longest river in the British Isles, and is a place steeped with mythology and folklore.
  • The name of the river is said to derive from the Celtic goddess Sionnan, granddaughter of Manannán Mac Lir, who was a sea deity in Celtic mythology. Sionnan, whose name means ‘possessor of wisdom’, drowned in the River Shannon and was carried out to sea.
  • Other mythology dating back to medieval times tells the tale of Cata, a river monster who lived in the River Shannon and was defeated by Senan, the Patron Saint of Clare.
  • This site was one of 18 listed venues for the 26th edition of EVA in 2002, curated by Apinan Poshyananda (b. 1956, Thailand) and titled heroes + holies.
  • Cai Guo-Qiang (b. 1957, China) created a work on the river titled Against the Current (2002) – a brief, one-off performative event in which the artist laid five lines of gunpowder fuses on the river’s surface and ignited them, creating five lines of fire moving upstream through the arches of Thomond Bridge.
  • In the artist’s own words describing the work ahead of the event, ‘Five lines of gunpowder fuses are laid out on the river’s surface. Ignited from downstream, the fire travels against the current through the five middle arches of Thomond Bridge. The fierce power and speed of the waves of fire against the rapid water will be spectacular and explosive. The audience will see the beauty and the speed of the fire travelling upstream. It will represent a spectacularly strange juxtaposing of water and fire, which are diametrically opposed to each other. In front of the ancient castle and in the timeless and historical river, a space and time of chaos is created momentarily.’

Artwork presented at this venue

Des Farrell, For the Lovers, 2003.