‘St. John’s Eve’, a celebration of rights of way, in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.
St. John’s Eve, Thursday 23rd June 2011
9.30 – 11pm
Access will be via the west gate entrance to the Royal Hospital (near Kilmainham Gaol).
Weather permitting, this outdoor event will take place in the Hospital Meadow.
Originally the site of St. John’s monastery, the tradition of celebrating St. John’s Eve (Midsummer Bonfire Night) at Bully’s Acre, Kilmainham became noted for its ‘nocturnal revels’. Journals of the time make reference to what are described as ‘raucous’ celebrations. Traditionally common land (and a pauper graveyard) Bully’s Acre, and more specifically the rowdy celebration of St. John’s Eve, became the pinch point of tensions between the local ‘Liberty Boys’ and the Royal Hospital governors following the building of the Royal Hospital in 1680. Efforts by the governance to put an end to the tradition were thwarted by the public right of way which ran through the hospital fields. The St. John’s Eve celebration became an event through which the local population annually exercised and activated this right of way through the Royal Hospital Grounds.
‘St. John’s Eve’ is a small event through which this public right of way and tradition of celebration is temporarily uncovered. Some refreshments will be served. ‘St. John’s Eve’ is part of a research residency investigating access and engagement currently being undertaken by Culturstruction at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.