The Face Cup

The Face Cup - celebrating Cork's prehistoric heritage

The Face Cup by artist Fiona Mulholland is a celebration of the county’s rich prehistoric heritage. The artworks populate the facade of the historic Exchange Building on the corner of Princes Street and Oliver Plunkett St.


Linking the past to the present, Fiona Mulholland’s artwork of large-scale sculptural reliefs is based on a collection of exceptional Bronze Age ceramic artefacts - a small clay cup decorated with eyes, nose, ears and feet, another pottery vessel with ears and a spoon dating approximately 3800 years old. The original artefacts were excavated by archaeologists working on the site of the N8/N73 Mitchelstown Relief Road in 2004, who have assisted Fiona with ensuring accuracy for the project. 


The artist was influenced by the unique canvas that she was working on. She wanted to create a museum for an outdoor space, exploring our connection with the past and ideas of exchange. The facade of the building reminded her of an Irish dresser and she hoped to pay testament to the rich history of home, craftsmanship and hospitality of the building and the surrounding area. The artworks are handmade in styrofoam and fibreglass to keep them light-weight and painted gold as a nod to our Bronze Age heritage.

About the artist:


Artist Fiona Mulholland has been successfully working across a range of disciplines and contexts for over twenty five years. Moving fluidly between fine and applied art, spanning a variety of disciplines and media, she is motivated by the challenges of contexts, materials and processes. Her practice is primarily concerned with examining fragments of everyday life, often cross-referencing conflicting narratives of ‘nature’ and ‘culture’. 


Over the course of her career, she has produced award winning designs, large scale public art and work within gallery contexts. Public Art commissioning bodies include Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, Beacon South Quarter and the Vocational Education Board in Letterkenny. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Fiona has curated several significant exhibitions, been the recipient of bursary awards and also regularly lectures in art and design at third level.  She is currently living and working between Dublin and the Northwest of Ireland.