Old Asylum

Trip to ennis abandoned mental hospital today

Last night on my walk I went for a wander around the grounds of the old mental hospital on the gort road, ennis. See the following lifted from wiki: The hospital, which was designed by opened as the Ennis Asylum in 1868. It became Ennis Mental Hospital in the 1920s and went on to become Our Lady’s Hospital in the 1950s. After the introduction of deinstitutionalisation in the late 1980s the hospital went into a period of decline and closed in March 2002.

I mean Jesus, you should see this place. Its VAST. Most windows that are within throwable distance are broken, as you can see from the photos, and you can see into the rooms and corridors from various angles to see the graffitti and general dereliction. It’s a huge, grey, monolithic decrepit fortress of past injustices. Or that’s what it looks like.

I had been thinking about using this venue as the site for part 2 of my 3-part performance series “Ready”. The first one was made in the burren near mullaghmore. I wanted another similarly resonant space to do the next performance in. The Burren was a magnificent setting and crucially a very mood influencing place, with the winds, sun reflecting lake, huge sweeping mountains and craggy rocks. It immediately made one feel liberated and alive.

This hospital is also a very mood influencing space, but it’s an oppresssive, looming, creepy, dark kind of mood. Everything about it hints of past unhappiness, and that’s no exaggeration. I have some concerns around making a performance here:

Would the venue ‘swallow up’ and take over the performance?

Is the venue too loaded with meaning and therefore unsuitable?

Would a shot there be able to replicate in any way the prior shot in the burren? It needs to be the second part of a 3 part performance and therefore there needs to be some continuum. How to shoot it?

There is a front entrance area that has a concreted space in front of the entrance and steps up to the door. this could potentially work..

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