Mary Moynihan-On The Ledge Of Courage

Artist: Mary Moynihan

Medium: Video

For artist Mary Moynihan ‘my influences have been the people I love, nature or the way of being and a sense of mystery. I am drawn in by historical memory, alternative narratives and what is hidden or unseen especially stories that live in liminal spaces and on the edge’.

I wrote On the Ledge of Courage during a time of darkness in my life where fear and the danger of death were present. I needed a way through the darkness and wrote the poem as an acknowledgement of the beauty and preciousness of life and in particular to honour the many ways that ordinary people reach out and help each other.  It was during the pandemic at a time when we saw and heard countless stories of acts of kindness and care.  Fear and courage can live within us at the same time in the same way that we can have strength in our vulnerability.   The physical ledge is on the Great Sceilg (Sceilg Mhichíl) overlooking the vast Atlantic ocean but this ‘ledge’ is in all of us and we often have to dive into the unknown for both ourselves and others.


Mary Moynihan (she/her), MA,  is an award-winning writer, director, theatre and film-maker, an interdisciplinary artist and Artistic Director of Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality.

Mary is Artistic Curator for the annual Dublin Arts and Human Rights festival implemented by Smashing Times and Front Line Defenders in partnership with organisations including Amnesty International, Fighting Words, NWCI, Irish Modern Dance Theatre and  Poetry Ireland. The aim of the festival is to showcase and highlight the extraordinary work of human rights defenders in Ireland and around the world, past and present, and the role of the arts and artists in promoting human rights today. 

Mary specialises in transformative arts practice, using interdisciplinary, socially-engaged arts practice to promote equality, human rights, gender equality, diversity and peace, developing cutting edge arts-based projects with a range of organisations in Ireland, Northern Ireland and across Europe. The work takes place at local, national and international levels, connecting citizens to the arts, human rights, climate justice,  gender equality and peace. 

Mary’s work is underpinned by a rights-based approach and a commitment to artistic excellence and social engagement. Mary has a particular focus on using historical memory in her artistic practice as inspiration for the creation of original artworks across a range of mediums, remembering stories of ordinary yet powerful women and men from history and today who stood up for the rights of others.

As Artistic Director of Smashing Times, Mary was awarded the Business to Art Special Judges Daa Arts Award at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and was awarded a GSK Ireland Impact Award, a Dublin Bus Community Spirit Award, and a National Lottery Good Cause Award. In April 2021, Acting for the Future - Creative Arts for Health and Well-being Hub, a project designed and led by Mary Moynihan,  won the prestigious #ArtsAgainstCovid award, from the Arts in Health International Foundation.  Company patrons of Smashing Times are First Lady Sabina Coyne Higgins, Senator Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House, Ger Ryan, actor and Tim Pat Coogan, writer and historian. Founding patrons were writers Maeve Binchy and Brian Friel.