Killruddery: Listening to the Archive

‘Sonic Hauntings in a Big House’

Since May 2019, I have been artist-in-residence at Killruddery House & Gardens (Bray, Ireland) as part of a practice-led PhD at SMARTlab, part of the Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland, University College Dublin, and funded by the Irish Research Council. I am now in my final year and currently writing up the thesis.

Killruddery is a beautiful estate in County Wicklow, home to the Brabazon family and the seat of the Earl and Countess of Meath. The family have been living there since 1618 and their archives trace the story of a ‘Big House’ which began under British rule and continues to thrive post-independence, highlighting the many ways that the inhabitants of this 800 acre estate have intersected with a wider social history. Killruddery is open to the public as a heritage site and hosts festivals and events, film sets and weddings as well as a farmer’s market and other recreational activities.

My aim is to sonify some of the untold and unheard stories of the Killruddery estate not found in the guidebooks, to create a hauntological sound trail ‘The Ancestors’, in which key objects, images and narratives from the written archives are summoned using binaural sound recording techniques and the power of the modern smartphone. The sonic spectres of the archives are sited in the grounds of the estate, creating an interactive, immersive sound installation via audio geo-location platform Echoes, and will be available for public preview from June 30th 2022.

The project is funded by the Irish Research Council and Killruddery Arts, Heritage & Culture