Empty Extension

Empty Extension

Empty Extension (2005)

Abandoned Car Showroom

Abandoned Car Showroom (2003)

Demolished Car Showroom

When the girls were younger, the O’Sullivan Car Showroom and Garage at Bell Heights used to capture my eye every schoolrun morning. By 1998 no new cars were on display there, only modest family cars waiting for sale or repair. I have no interest in the motor trade, but I was fascinated by the almost brutalist architectural juxtaposition of the old and new architecture on top of  the hill leading down to Henry St,  the main commercial venue of Kenmare.

A modern one-storey steel and glass extension had been butted directly onto a traditional 18th century free-standing shop building.  Though trade was on the wane, some work carried on, and the top of the hill was alive daily. On summer evenings the setting sun would bathe the buildings and surrounding yew trees in golden light.

By 2000 all the activity at the garage was gone and it was closed. In 2006 the old shop building was demolished overnight by a Boom businessman upset by a preservation order. The modern extension was left standing.

I’ve made two paintings of the site Abandoned Car Showroom and Empty Extension. I miss the old house dearly. Driving from Our Lady’s Bridge to town can never be the same.


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