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No Irish artist has placed the Ogham so centrally to their work as Brian O’Doherty / Patrick Ireland, the source behind Brian O’Doherty’s conceptual drawings and structural plays currently on view in IMMA. Damian McManus Professor of Early Irish in Trinity College, Dublin, explores the rich history, Irish heritage and social functioning of this 1,500 year old language. Learn more about the history of the Ogam script from its inception down to the present, its writing systems, its distinctive linear characters, rhythmic motifs, and inscriptions as well as its importance within the context of the history of the Irish language today

This talk is programmed in the context of National Heritage Week and IMMA’s national collection of modern and contemporary art.

Brian O'Doherty

Brian O'Doherty 1928–2022

Brian O’Doherty was born in Ireland and moved to New York in 1957. A qualified medical doctor, O’Doherty became renowned as an artist, writer, television host, and educator. Consistently exploring the multiple nature of identity, he adopted various personae, notably 'Patrick Ireland', who was buried at IMMA in 2008. Major retrospectives of O’Doherty/Ireland’s work were held at the National Museum of American Art, Dublin City Gallery, the Hugh Lane and the Grey Art Gallery, New York. Brian O'Doherty died at his apartment in Manhattan on Monday 7th of November 2022, at the age of 94.

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Patrick Ireland

Patrick Ireland 1972–2008

During the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1972, Brian O'Doherty, in a performance before 30 invited witnesses and assisted by artists Robert Ballagh and Brian King, undertook to sign his artworks Patrick Ireland 'until such time as the British military presence is removed from Northern Ireland'. After 36 years of making art as Patrick Ireland, O'Doherty reclaimed his birth name with the symbolic burial of his alter ego in the grounds of IMMA on the afternoon of Tuesday 20 May 2008.
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About the Speaker

Damian McManus is Professor of Early Irish in Trinity College, Dublin. He is author of A guide to Ogham (1991) and co-editor of the history of the Irish language, Stair na Gaeilge (1994), to which he contributed the chapter on Classical Modern Irish. He directed the TCD Bardic Poetry project which provided a digitized database of all surviving Bardic poetry as well as publishing the largest collection of medieval poems ever published in Ireland, A Bardic Miscellany (2010). He has published widely in the areas of Primitive Irish morphology and phonology, Latin loanwords in Early Irish, the history of Ireland’s oldest writing system and Classical Irish grammar, metrics and poetry. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and co-editor of its journal of Irish philology and literature, Ériu.

About the Exhibition


About the Exhibition
IMMA presents Brian O’Doherty Language and Space, in association with fine art print studio Stoney Road Press, Dublin. Presented in the context of our Collections exhibition Coast-Lines, this solo exhibition includes a number of works by Brian O’Doherty/Patrick Ireland from IMMA’s National Collection, in addition to drawings from the 1960s, Structural Plays and new works recently published by Stoney Road Press as limited editioned prints.

About Heritage Week

About National Heritage Week
Various Locations, Saturday 19th August – Sunday 27th August 2017
National Heritage Week is coordinated by The Heritage Council and its aim is to build awareness and education about our heritage thereby encouraging its conservation and preservation. National Heritage Week is part of European Heritage Days. The main aim of European Heritage Days are to promote awareness of our built, natural and cultural heritage and to promote Europe’s common cultural heritage. Every year millions of Europeans visit historical monuments and sites throughout Europe on European Heritage Days.