‘In These Rooms’ is a project underway in Boyle in relation to the former Royal Hotel.
Led by the artist Greer Mac Keogh, this project aims to piece together a story about the Royal, from memories and recollections, to draw together a portrait of this rural, local hotel. Greer is asking for contributions to an archive of stories, memories, photos, film, or objects, which can be from any era of the Royal.
Next year, this archive will form part of an exhibition titled In These Rooms, to mark the Royal’s reopening. This exhibition, commissioned by Roscommon County Council under the Creative Ireland Programme 2021-2022, aims to capture something of what the 230-year-old Royal means to those who knew it.
Greer is currently in Boyle and encourages anyone to get in touch. If people can dig out old photo albums and check with family and friends, she would really appreciate it. All contributions to this archive are welcome, even if it’s just a rough date or an old anecdote.
‘I’ve been speaking to people about the former Royal Hotel since I first visited Boyle in 2016 and everyone I’ve met so far has a story to tell. The Royal Hotel was more than just somewhere for guests to stay. It was the place to hold significant life events, christenings, birthdays, marriages and funerals. It was the space to hold local meetings, to host a celebration or gather with friends. You could have a quiet drink or hit the dancefloor. I am drawn to the fact that the Royal was a social space and when it closed, Boyle lost more than a place for outsiders to stay.’
This week Greer will install a series of artworks on the building site hoarding outside the Royal. The artworks are collages made up of stories and images shared by the community, and of her own experiences in the town.
‘The collages are made of up of layers of images, stories and drawings. In the context of an historic building like the Royal, layers are one way I’ve tried to represent the passing of time. When reimagining the Royal as a social space, I think of it as a web of connections, like a fabric made up of multiple threads.
‘This project has evolved over time in response to the people I’ve met and the changes I’ve witnessed in Boyle. Initially, the project was driven by my curiosity about Boyle’s architecture. I spent time in Boyle exploring the social narrative behind buildings in the town. It became clear early on, that all of my conversations were leading back to the Royal Hotel.’
Greer Mac Keogh
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 089 244 2225
The refurbishment of the old Royal Hotel site in Boyle was formally signed in the Roscommon County Council Offices in December 2020. The refurbishment, which is funded by the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF) from the Department of Rural and Community Development and Roscommon County Council, commenced in May 2021 and is expected to be complete in Summer 2022. The refurbishment will involve the redevelopment of the old Royal Hotel site into a landing space for start-up businesses and exhibition space.
In These Rooms exhibition, which coincides with the reopening of the Royal Hotel site, has been commissioned by Roscommon County Council under the Creative Ireland Programme 2021-2022. The research and development for this project has been kindly supported by Arts Councils Engaging with Architecture scheme (2016) and the Artist in the Community fund (2018) overseen by Create. Support from local organisations, businesses and individuals has also been of great value, such as the Boyle Town Team, The Spool Factory and Boles of Boyle.
Greer Mac Keogh is an artist and researcher from Dublin. Since 2016 she has been working on a practice-based PhD at UAL Chelsea college of Art, funded by Techne Doctoral Scholarship (AHRC). Her research explores hospitality through art practice and traces the historical and cultural significance of hospitality in Irish society. Her background spans working in a range of contexts; intergenerational projects, youth engagement, criminal justice systems, artist-run spaces, institutions, galleries and public spaces. She completed an MA in Community Arts at Goldsmiths University, London and a BA in Fine Art Sculpture from Crawford College of Art and Design, in Cork, Ireland.