In 1995 teacher Grace Mulligan brought her 6th Class to the Artlink Studio in Buncrana to spend a day painting with artist Aileen Barr around the theme of St. Colmcille
Following on from the children’s enjoyment of this workshop, school principal Bríd McLoone applied for, and was granted, an artist-in-residence to the Arts Council for Scoil Cholmcille.
The central theme of the project was an exploration of the life of Saint Colmcille, after whom this school is named, on the 14th hundredth anniversary of his death.
The residency commenced in January 1996 with Aileen Barr working in school, twice weekly for a period of 12 weeks. All class teachers worked collaboratively with the artist and all 206 pupils contributed to the project.
The life of Saint Colmcille was explored through 2D work using paint, charcoal, pastels and chalk. All classes learned about the life of Saint Colmcille and put forward ideas for the project design. Siobhan Kerr’s 4th Class lead the project with the assistance of 5th and 6th classes.
A large mural was designed on paper using the ideas collected. Children learned how to make tiles under the direction of the artist. They then prepared the wall for tiling and mounted, grouted, cemented and finally painted the tiles.
The tragedy of Dunblane, Scotland occurred during the creation of the mural. The children were deeply affected by the tragedy and choose to remember those killed in their creation. The children who died in Dunblane are represented by the stars above the boat.