Ciarán MacAoidh took advantage of the long residency to work on research and learning, spending time on the rivers, lakes and shorelines of the North West, Clare, Kerry and Dublin as well as in caves, quarries, tunnels and tombs all over Ireland, refining his recording methods, and finding new sounds and new ways to work. Being in the environment of The Dock gave the artist the opportunity to meet with other artists and craftspeople and gave him the space and time to develop his practice.
His major projects vary in theme and style but draw together elements of field recording, documentary and experimental music.
MacAoidh's piece, A Palm to Rest My Cheek Upon, was installed in exhibition at the Famine Workhouse in October 2017 alongside the work of Jessica Kelly and Nollaig Molloy. It was also to be released by Was Ist Das? Records, an independent record label based in the United States.
The work attempts to draw out the sounds of mental illness, of the feelings of being trapped inside an unwell mind. It was recorded in several locations around Leitrim and Roscommon, including underwater recordings in Lough Key and inside the Cave of the Cats, a traditional entrance to the Irish underworld protected by a monstrous three headed cat.
The artist’s second completed work was a long piece rooted in ideas of mourning and grief, in Irish funeral traditions such as keening and waking the dead combined with the theological work of former Catholic priest Thomas Crossan. Entitled Crossan's Dogs, the work is collaborative and Ciarán worked with singer/songwriter Lisa O'Neill, saxophone player Cathal Roche and Dr. Billy MagFhloinn, a folklorist, archaeologist and traditional musician who also casts Bronze Age and Iron Age horns.