Penryn rail station in Cornwall, England, is so small it has only four advertising panels, with two of them facing the steps and access ramp to the platform. Today of all days, as I head off for six weeks round Britain and Ireland in search of something as intangible as my own heritage, one of these panels happens to have a fellow that went to my school on it, Ciarán Hinds. Under the National Theatre branding and five large stars, he stands there all serious beneath a broody Irish sky, with his thick greying hair, dangling curls, and a beard of scruffy distinction. ‘Flawless,’ reads the quote, ‘A culture-clash masterpiece,’ The Guardian, with another pair of five stars sitting like halos above the heads of Ciarán’s co-stars, Judith Roddy and Fra Fee. ‘Translations, by Brian Friel,’ it says: ‘must end 18 December.’ And underneath it all in the centre is the Arts Council England stamp they need to include because of the funding.
Dan O’Carroll is a Lecturer at Falmouth University’s Department of Communication. His interdisciplinary research highlights marginalised intangible heritage through phenomenological and decolonial arts practice. His work straddles the edges of auto-theory, auto-fiction and traditional memoir, using elements of all three.