Meitheal Mara recently collaborated with architect Ailbhe Cunningham and artist Aoife Desmond on their project TEST SITE. Based on Kyrl’s Quay in Cork City, the site of a former sawmill, this project project brought together Art, Architecture, Ecology and Urban Planning. This project worked with the land and its history, using site specific architecture, performances, talks and events in response to the sites vacancy. This project was supported by a Cork City Council Arts in Context Award 2021 which assist community groups to work together with artists to release arts projects in Cork City.
Meitheal Mara was asked to construct six Belfast trusses which are a significant feature of the former sawmill site on Kyrl’s Quay. These were built in our community workshop at Crosses Green by the small team of Meitheal Mara staff and community employment participants.
The trusses were built via hand cut joints and bolt fastenings bring together this pavilion, eliminating the use of nails and glue. The concept of this design approach was to firstly sustainably source local materials that could then be easily disassembled and reassembled again.
Ailbhe worked closely with the Meitheal Mara team on the design and build detail of the six trusses. There is a close relationship between this building technique and the construction of boats and currachs in which Meitheal Mara specializes. Both Meiheal Mara and TEST SITE were once the sites of several significant sawmill warehouses which are now demolished. Both have river access via a slipway and in archival maps Kyrl’s Quay was formerly known as Timber Quay so it is closely linked with timber trade and industry.
Seamus O’Sullivan, Assistant Boatyard Manager said:
A collaboration between Architect and Boat Builder, the truss commission was a wonderfully challenging experience for the Meitheal Mara workshop team led by Séamus O’Brien. Undeterred by restriction constraints, eight staff members had a hand in the fabrication of the trusses over the course of six weeks. Currach Construction skills meet architectural construction parameters in a joyous union leaving all concerned proud of the end result.