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The Waking Walls, September 8th & 9th

The iconic national monument of Cloughoughter Castle sitting on its tiny island in the heart of Cavan’s lakelands now premieres a collaborative, theatrical artwork The Waking Walls. A wholly distinct experience that uniquely draws upon the Irish traditions of lamenting and caoineadh/ keening to express emotions of ecological and climate grief felt due to lost heritage and ecology associated with climate change.

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The Waking Walls, September 8th & 9th

The iconic national monument of Cloughoughter Castle sitting on its tiny island in the heart of Cavan’s lakelands now premieres a collaborative, theatrical artwork The Waking Walls. A wholly distinct experience that uniquely draws upon the Irish traditions of lamenting and caoineadh/ keening to express emotions of ecological and climate grief felt due to lost heritage and ecology associated with climate change.


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Caoineadh Dúlra October 14th & 15th

Image 1: A dark image of intertwined foliage. A mixture of plants typically found in an Irish hedgerow, including ivy, brambles and moss. 

Caoineadh Dúlra

A series of events exploring pressing issues of biodiversity loss and climate grief while commemorating the artistic, cultural, and musical heritage of the Island of Ireland. These events foster cross-border collaboration, bringing together communities from both sides of the border in a collective effort to address the shared environmental crisis.

An Evening Exploring Caoineadh and Climate Grief
Sunday 15 October, 5pm to 7.30pm

Aughakillymaude Centre, Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh

All are welcome to this once-off afternoon event exploring Caoineadh or Keening with UCC’s Marian Caulfield, a leading expert in the field, round table discussion lead by environmental artist AlanJames Burns and live performances of keens and lament airs by cross border traditional musicians.

This will be an evening of haunting music, emotive pros, and engaging discussion which will unite the audience in a powerful collective experience focused on the losses caused by our shared environmental crisis. By processing grief and redefining environmental loss as a cohesive bond , Caoineadh Dúlra aims to inspire attendees to take meaningful action in preserving the precious natural resources across the island of Ireland.

An Evening Exploring Caoineadh and Climate Grief: More Information

Caoineadh Residential Workshop
14 & 15 October 2023

Jampa Ling Centre, Bawnboy, Cavan

Discover the ancient practice of Caoineadh or Keening in this transformative workshop led by Tanya Bryan, a psychotherapist and keening expert. Experience this cathartic expression of shared personal and ecological grief and connect with Irish heritage through the therapeutic power of sound and spontaneous collective experience. Revitalising traditional skill sets for processing grief offers us tools through which we can re-engage with and reframe environmental loss – not as a state of disconnection and isolation, but as a collective, unifying experience, which can be channelled as a catalyst for change.

Facilitator notes on the workshop

Note: We strongly advise that you read the facilitator notes before registering your interest for the workshop. 

Closing date for this has been extended to October 3rd.

Workshop Registration & Information

Caoineadh Dúlra

Caoineadh Dúlra is a groundbreaking series of events, in conjunction with artist AlanJames Burns’s ambitious theatrical project The Waking Walls (8 & 9 September 2023). The project is based on a three year research and development period by artist AlanJames Burns that has connected people from both sides of the border and has utilised cultural heritage methodologies that foster collective wellbeing.

Sounds from The Waking Walls

Caoineadh Dúlra is funded and supported by The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltach, Sport & Media, Co-operation with Northern Ireland Scheme, Cavan Arts Office, Irish Hospice Foundation, Cavan Adventure Centre, Caoineadh expert Marian Caulfield and Tanya Bryan, Psychotherapist, A Time To Gather.

The Waking Walls, September 8th & 9th

The Waking Walls

a caoineadh of ecological and climate grief

The Waking Walls; a caoineadh of ecological and climate grief.
The iconic national monument of Cloughoughter Castle, sitting on its tiny island in the heart of Cavan’s lake lands premieres a collaborative event-based artwork The Waking Walls by AlanJames Burns.

Echoing from the walls of Cavan’s Cloughoughter Castle the stirring cries of an Irish caoineadh reverberate over the rippling lake water. Together, gathered on boats and at the lakeside, we absorb this iconic monument’s lament for the environmental and biodiversity losses the castle has witnessed over its lifetime.

The Waking Walls is a new collaborative, theatrical artwork that reawakens and
equips us with age-old methods of coping with loss. The Waking Walls is an invitation to reframe environmental grief – not as a state of disconnection and isolation, but as a unifying experience to collectively process climate disruption.

The Waking Walls has been developed by Cavan-born environmental artist
AlanJames Burns in collaboration with writer Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan, NYAH (Cross Border Collective of Traditional Arts Musicians), Cavan Arts Office, Irish Hospice Foundation and Cavan Adventure Centre.

In The Waking Walls, the central historical 13th century building of Cloughoughter Castle now stands in disrepair as physical evidence of the effects of entropy, decay, human destruction and environmental degradation.

Both evening at dusk – from Friday 8th September to Saturday 9th September – audiences will embark upon a once-in-a-lifetime boat trip or take a short walk to the lake shore viewing area. Immersed within this breathtaking location, they will witness the castle personifying collective trauma connected to the climate catastrophe and ecological degradation. Cloughoughter Castle channels this grief and cries out in a call to arms for us to fight to protect ourselves against our inaction, embrace necessary change and live in harmony with the land once again. There are also two day light performances with buses leaving Townhall Cavan at 4pm each day.

The audio installation was developed in collaboration with musicians; Martin Donohoe, Rafal Szydlowski, Dwanye Kiernan, and vocalist and composer Karina Lynch Charles, arranged by musician and composer Andrew Stephen Lynch.

Public programme: Caoineadh Dúlra

In addition to The Waking Walls events in September, public caoineadh workshops called Caoineadh Dúlra will take place on 14 th and 15 th October. These workshops will explore biodiversity loss and climate grief. Booking for these workshops will open up in September through this website www.alanjamesburns.com

Further Information
If you have any questions please email: studio@alanjamesburns.com

Media Information
For media information please contact Stephanie Dickenson Tel: 087 993 7650
Press release available here.

Event Information

Bookings at Townhall Cavan

The Waking Walls

WHEN: Friday 8th – Saturday 9th September 2023: at 4pm for daylight performances and 7.15pm for the sunset performances.
Event run time, including bus transfers, approx 2 hrs 20.

TICKETS: Booking is essential through Townhall Cavan www.townhallcavan.com
Please wear appropriate footwear and warm clothes as this is an outdoor event.

WHERE: Buses leaving Townhall Cavan each day for Cloughoughter Castle at 4pm & 7.15pm.

No private traffic due to space restrictions at the site.

The Waking Walls has built accessibility into experiential design including accessible transport for each performance and ISL interpretation for performances on Saturday 9th. Free and reduced tickets are available, including for those living with a disability, low income, unemployed, OAP. These tickets are available by emailing townhallcavan@cavancoco.ie or calling 049 43 80494. The project team is committed to making the event as accessible as possible.

Easy Read and Story | Accessibility Statement

The Waking Walls is funded and supported by The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Traditional Arts Project Award, Creative Ireland, Cavan Arts Office, Co-operation with Northern Ireland Scheme, Irish Hospice Foundation, Cavan Townhall, Cavan Adventure Centre, Office of Public Works, Dept. of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, One Resilient Earth, Caoineadh expert Marian Caulfield, Architect Jessica Lange and Cavan heritage and biodiversity experts Heather Bothwell and Fergal Connolly, and producer Karina Lynch Charles.

Our Place

Our Place

Friday 14 July to Friday 28 July 2023

Our Place playfully explores themes of happiness, human rights, and a sense of belonging by transforming the McKenna Gallery at Riverbank Arts Centre into a friendly multi-sensory environment through an electric combination of sound art, storytelling, tactile lighting and comfy seating for everyone to enjoy. 
A soundscape plays through a system of 12 audio speakers in the gallery with adjustable volume. To further enhance this experience for everyone, three distinct sensory areas within the gallery space have been created including; a social seating area, a time out area, and a tactile string lighting area. 
Our Place was developed by artists Dr Sinéad McCann and AlanJames Burns in close collaboration with artists, who are supported by Saint John of God Liffey Services, Aíne Walsh, David Carter, Keith Whelan, Laura Hickey, Aidan Winters, Conor Begley, David Carter, David Deane, Frances Quinn, Jonathan Smith, Niamh Fortune and Sean Winder. 
All creative decisions and ideas leading to the exhibition design were informed by collaborative workshops with all collaborators, including during a two-week residency in Riverbank Arts Centre in February 2023. Our Place is  funded by the Arts Council of Ireland Artist in Community Scheme, managed by Create IrelandOur Place is supported by Kildare’s Creative Ireland bursary awards 2023.


The following accessibility measures are in place:
An introduction video using lámh.
A social story will be made available online at Riverbank Arts Centre. 
Open captions of sound artworks.
Braille description.
Adjustable lighting and sound volume.
You can book your visit in advance and receive a ticket from the Riverbank.

Further Information

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9:30am to 5pm  
(Closed for lunch 2pm to 2.30pm)

Supported by:


Art | Disability | Climate Change

Online Webinar

Thursday 20 July 2023


Art, lived experience of disability, Climate Change and their intersections is explored by leading Irish and international arts professionals in an afternoon of online panel discussions.

Climate change disproportionately affects disabled people through ways such as eco-ableism, lack of accessible information, physical vulnerabilities in extreme weather events, inaccessible climate policies, to name a few.

However, people with lived experience of disability have expert skill sets which are needed to address the climate emergency, such as resilience, resourcefulness, understanding the value of community care, and specialist knowledge of navigating a world of barriers and obstacles. Yet disabled people are routinely and systematically not considered in climate action projects, policies, and discussions.


Links to artworks and research discussed during the webinar

Panel Discussions

Panel 1:          12pm to 12.50pm

The afternoon’s first session discusses the forthcoming national tour and artwork of Augmented Body Altered Mind. An interactive exhibition weaving a brain-computer interface with an audiovisual environment inviting audiences to visualise the way they think and how their brains work. The artwork celebrates neurodiversity, and how human brains have evolved to process information in ways that are specialised and divergent from each other that encourages collective and creative problem-solving. Nowhere is creative thinking more needed than the environmental crisis.



Marek Wolynski is a London-based curator and producer who specialises in large-scale projects and cross-sector partnerships at the intersection of art, nature, science, and technology.



AlanJames Burns is a neurodivergent, environmental artist and curator producing interactive, socially engaged and site-specific exhibitions. The focal points of their artistic practice are disability, climate change and the human mind.

Chandrika Narayana-Mohan is a writer and performer whose work has been published by Dedalus Press, Lifeboat Press, Poetry Ireland, Banshee, and Stinging Fly amongst others. Chandrika has collaborated with AlanJames Burns and Dylan Coburn Gray on Augmented Body, Altered Mind and is currently collaborating with Burns on The Waking Walls | Caoineadh Dúlra an upcoming project exploring climate grief.


Panel 2:          1pm to 1.50pm

The second session discusses art as a catalyst for inclusive climate action and a just transition by looking at the environmental advocacy work of artists and organisations who are addressing the disproportionate impact and accessibility challenges faced by disabled individuals during the climate emergency.



Dr Sarah Bell is a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter, who has just commenced a 5 year project exploring climate change, policy and disability across three case study cities, Dublin, Bristol and Glasgow. IncluADAPT explores and demonstrates as-yet overlooked opportunities to foreground disability rights and knowledge in Climate adaptation scholarship, policy and practice.



Peter Kearns is an Irish theatre artist and lecturer working with the Independent Living Movement. In March Kearns delivered an address to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Disability Matters on the climate crisis and disability.

Jennifer Cunningham is a visual artist who has won many awards and her work is in collections all over the world. She frequently works with schools and colleges and has delivered many Creative Engagement and Artist in the Schools schemes at both primary and secondary level.




Panel 3:          2pm to 2.50pm

Explores how disabled Irish artists raise awareness, challenge societal perceptions, and provoke meaningful discussions about the experiences of disabled individuals in the context of climate change and environmental degradation.


Prof Julia Watts Belser, a rabbi, scholar, and spiritual teacher who works at the intersections of disability studies, queer feminist Jewish ethics, and environmental justice. She directs Disability and Climate Change: A Public Archive Project.


Suzanne Walsh, artist and writer with an interest in non-human worlds, from animals to the esoteric, and in creating rifts through which new meanings and realities can emerge

Dr Tia Vellani, is an artist, musician, and scientist who produces multidisciplinary collaborations that explore connection and communication through art and music. She recently started working with live fungus as a metaphor for connection, communication, co-operation, and diversity.

Cecilia Bullo, visual artist whose practice is research-based and informed by historical, mythological, psychoanalytic and feminist theories, which create a vital conceptual framework for her physical work. Bullo’s recent series of works explores the artist’s concerns around gender violence and ecofeminism.

Further Information

If you have any questions please email: studio@alanjamesburns.com 

Media Information

For media information please contact Stephanie Dickenson Tel: 087 993 7650 stephaniedickenson12@gmail.com

Disability Arts Online Media Takeover, July 2023

AlanJames Burns will do a media takeover of Disability Arts Online social media accounts July 2023 to discuss the intersection of Climate and Disability.

RHA / IPUT Wilton Park Studios

AlanJames Burns is one of the recipients of the RHA / IPUT Wilton Park Studios 2023.

Our Place recieves Creative Ireland Bursary Award 2023 from Kildare County Council

AlanJames Burns’ collaborative socially engaged project Our Place with Sinead McCann and collaborating artists from Saint John of God Liffey Services has graciously received the Creative Ireland Bursary Award 2023 from Kildare County Council.

“Two new Insight Artists-in-Residence announced: AlanJames Burns and Erin Redmond” (Insight Centre)

We are very grateful to be Artist-In-Residence at Insight Centre Dublin City University a Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Data Analytics

Review of ABAM at Contemporary LYNX

Read a review of Augmented Body, Altered Mind in Contemporary LYNX

“Insight: ‘Augmented Body, Altered Mind,’ delving into the workings of the brain(s) in real-time” (Clot Magazine)

Read a review of Augmented Body, Altered Mind in Clot Magazine

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