In memoriam of Katy Gilligan


katy gilligan pictureI’m terribly sorry to have to share the very sad news that dear Katy has passed. Katy was a shining light at the heart of the SMARTlab circle of trust for two decades.

She was a fighter, dancer and dreamer to the end, always with a smile.

For those new to the group, you may not know that it was Katy, along with James Brosnan, who collaborated with SMARTlab in Ireland from the start, all the way from our first collaborations with the CRC and Fluxus Dance & Dance Disability Ireland (Cathy O’Kennedy, Bobby Byrne) and with the NYU CATlab (Clilly Castiglia, Kate Brehn, Jeremi Sudol et al), and of course SMARTlab wth Kila, in preparation for our first collaborative show at the Special Olympics. . .Over the years of travel together we became a kind of family here on this strange little island. . . .

Her light and tireless positivity will be much missed.

I have sent our group condolences to her mother Tina, father Des, brother Daniel and family, and will spend time with them when this social isolation period is over. Meanwhile, I am sending them video clips like this one, from her duets with James, facilitated as always by the amazing Dr Mick Donegan, Bobby and all…

and this one, capturing the very first time that Katy was able to communicate herself using the eyegaze system which Mick set up.

Last evening, Lucas made this beautiful wreath in her memory and today he helped me to spend time quietly at the edge of the sea.

wreath for katy

The wreath is hand made from the willows and wildflowers grown on the land of Dr Maureen Concannon (whose land is a healing retreat and meditation centre of great power). The heart-shaped stones are the ones I collect all year round, on the same stretch of beach where the ‘plumbline stones’ I give to all the students as touchstones come from… The wreath, heart rocks and our good thoughts will have to do as a send-off for now, in this strange time of un-funerals.

Those who knew Katy might also wish to light a candle or send a good thought out this evening, in her honour.

Or some might like to play her song. . . as devised with Robbie Perry and sung by Colm and Loa; recorded by Kila and released on their Soisin album. . I think it still catches her spirit.

And fans still remix it with video, so she lives on in many ways. . .

Best, Lizbeth

Read More
Skip to toolbar