Sweeney’s Unquiet Islands: Private View

Towards Dark Clouds detail (c) Martin McCoy, 2022;, with graphic overlay.
Sweeney’s Unquiet Islands: Private View 06Oct

The official opening of this all-new exhibition.

The Private View (PV) will feature a few words from the artist Martin McCoy; The Williamson’s curator and the Festival, along with live music. This will be the first opportunity to see 20+ artworks responding to the Buile Suibhne/Sweeney story, which considers identity and landscape; mental health and fragility. Please see exhibition listing for more details.

Exhibition details

Sweeney’s Unquiet Islands is an exhibition of original prints made by Northern Irish Wirral-based artist Martin McCoy.


Taking their starting point from the medieval Irish story Buile Suibhne (bˠɪlʲə ˈhɪvʲnʲə or “Bwullya Hevna”), renamed Sweeney in modern texts, Martin uses the motif of landscapes -as described in the story- to create a contemplation on our relationship to place and the role of location in shaping identity.

To summarise, the story describes the cursed life of Suibhne (Sweeney), King of Dal Araidhe. Having fallen foul of the Christian Church, Sweeney is condemned. He is forced to spend his remaining years roaming Ireland and the Western Isles; at night, in all weathers, in a constant state of anxiety. Stripped of his human status -and bound by his physical and metaphorical hunger- he questions his identity.


Martin’s etching series replies to the text. Manipulating known locations and layering them in ways that create ambiguous qualities, Martin mirrors Sweeney’s ravings. The images confuse and distort our understanding, helping us to question what we know about the images.

The exhibition will feature a show catalogue. The exhibit will feature additional works from Pamela Sullivan’s The Forgotten. Also on display will be information about Hot Bed Press, the local print studio in which exhibition was pressed.

The Liverpool Irish Festival proudly presents this exhibition in partnership with The Williamson Art Gallery (funded by Wirral Council).

Related events and posts

No posts found.

Back to All Events


6 October 2022

The PV runs 6pm-8pm


The Williamson Art Gallery
Slatey Road
CH43 4UE

Related Events

No Events