Ringforts are Ireland’s most common archaeological monument, liberally spread throughout the countryside. Seen as circular enclosures in the rural landscape and many existent for hundreds and thousands of years, they are often overgrown with trees and bushes, forming an unassuming yet encompassing presence, one grown from habitation, lived life and ritual.
With increasing regularity, the Irish state has sanctioned the destruction of ringforts as part of motorway schemes and infrastructural development. How can we understand a nation hell-bent on the demolition of its own history for the expedient delivery of perceived notions of progress? And what forms of resistance should be formulated to counteract the barbarism of these tendencies?
Environmentalist Sinéad Mercier explores the legal and moral complexities surrounding the nature of ringforts, while artist Michael Holly’s fieldwork with folklorist Eddie Lenihan reveals and analyses many sites of resonance in County Clare. In addition, extensive large format aerial imagery and historical maps licensed from Ordnance Survey Ireland detail changes over recent decades to these landscapes.
Men Who Eat Ringforts is printed with fluorescent Pantone inks, substituting the standard cyan, magenta and yellow process colours, resulting in a luminous effect to images throughout.
Co-published with Gaining Ground, a public art programme based in County Clare.