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Rockin up to city with West Cork prehistoric art exhibition

November 5th, 2015 4:50 PM

By Southern Star Team

Some of the magnificent rock art at Derreennaclogh. (Photo: Finola Finlay)

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By Sarah Canty 

The stunning prehistoric rock art of West Cork will be presented to the public in an exhibition in Cork City.

It now appears that West Cork’s reputation as a haven for artists has been going on for longer than once thought . . . about 4000-5000 years longer. 

Finola Finlay and Robert Harris of Ballydehob, following a series of West Cork lectures on the topic of rock art, have teamed up with Dublin-based photographer Ken Williams and West Cork artist Keith Payne to assemble a Prehistoric Irish Rock Art Exhibition to be seen in the Cork Public Museum.

Rock art refers to carvings found in stone throughout Europe that date back as far as 3000 BC.  They are mostly lines, circles and cup marks, or concave depressions, carved into flat slabs of stone. Because this and similar art can also be found on standing stones and other ancient monuments, experts believe they are of a similar age. 

There are a substantial number of samples found in West Cork where Mount Gabriel may have been of some significance to these carvers. Its peak can be viewed from many local sites which include Goleen, Ballydehob, Schull and Rosscarbery, to name just a few.

Many of examples of rock art had been documented by Boyle Somerville of Castletownshend in the early 20th century. In the 1970s Finlay catalogued and traced on paper about 90 known specimens throughout Cork and Kerry for a thesis.

Photographer Ken Williams captures images of rock art and ancient monuments that are atmospheric and dramatic. Keith Payne, who runs Castlepoint Gallery between Schull and Goleen, is fascinated by prehistoric art of all kinds.    

  The Prehistoric Rock Art Exhibition will be launched at the Cork Public Museum on October 31st at 2pm and will run until February 2016. 

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