Narrating ‘The Pilgrim’ for Latitudes at Askeaton Contemporary Arts 2018

Franciscan Abbey, Askeaton courtesy Askeaton Contemporary Arts

Had a ball lending my vocal ‘talents’ to Latitudes’ Max and Mariana for their sound project for Askeaton Contemporary Arts (ACA) 2018. Sometimes it’s best to leave the synopsis making to the experts, so the following text is directly from ACA. The link below will lead directly to the 12 minute or so tale – do enjoy, it’s a real swashbuckling adventure!!!

‘In case you might have missed this incredible sound work by curatorial duo Latitudes (Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna) on our annual open day for Welcome to the Neighbourhood, have a listen here

“The Pilgrim” by Tim Kelly. Read by Carl Doran. Published in Askeaton-Balysteen Community News, Summer 1984. This is a story of young love, of a clandestine marriage of a jealous father. It is the tale which involves an Italian, and a Spaniard, and a morbid blood-hunt that links Barcelona with Askeaton. And of murder – of cruel, bloody murder. The dramatic narrative brings to life a cryptic inscription in the cloister of Askeaton’s Friary that reads “Beneath lies the Pilgrim’s body, who died January 17, 1784”.

“The Pilgrim” was Latitudes’ contribution to the Askeaton Contemporary Arts 2018 residency “Welcome to the Neighbourhood”. It is a starting point rather than a conclusion. A textual splinter that is now pointing us towards future research around the navigators, pirates, traders, religions, and economies which linked Ireland with the Atlantic and western-Mediterranean sea-lanes during the last centuries.

Observances by Nuala O’Sullivan at Gallery Interlude, September 21 2018, 7-9pm.


As part of my own, and Contact Studios’ mission to highlight the lack of Cultural spaces and resources in Limerick, and to bring the best of Limerick based artists to the public, we will present Nuala O’Sullivan’s exquisite suite of paintings in our popup gallery in Lucky Lane, Catherine St. this Friday.

It’s an absolute pleasure to bring these works to the public’s attention, and to hopefully bring greater recognition to a Contact stalwart, who has given so freely of her time to promote and maintain the cause of local artists, and indeed the mental health services through our previous work with Art-in-Mind, and latterly Le Chéile.

Personally, I have mixed feelings around the concept of Culture Night. On one hand it is a great opportunity for the public to see the arts, but on the other it gives a false impression that the Arts are thriving, and reinforces the idea that cultural practitioners can survive on publicity alone!

Expect some musings on this topic on the night.

Also a special shout-out to Mark and Dave (and Steve!) from Lucky Lane without which we couldn’t do this project, and our sponsors Kevin O’Keefe of The Bigger Picture Framing Centre, and of course Ger Callinan and the team from The Glen Tavern.

Paradigm Shift opening
Paradigm Shift opening

Pictured above are (l-r) myself, Deputy Mayor for Limerick Jerry O’Dea, and artist Gerry O’Mahony at his opening in Gallery Interlude.

We had a great launch for our second show, and delighted that Jerry, a councilor who has been extremely supportive of our group could come along. We also appreciated his vocal support for Limerick becoming a real city of culture in practice, from the ground up – go raibh míle maith agat!



Paradigm Shift – paintings by Gerry O’Mahony at Gallery Interlude, Friday August 10 7-9pm, Saturday 11th 11-3pm

Paradigm Shift by Gerry O'Mahony
Paradigm Shift by Gerry O’Mahony

It’s a great privilege for myself and the Gallery Interlude team, to play host to Gerry O’Mahony. His work is at once recognisable for its over-layering, deft application of paint and oil pastel/bars, and glass-like surface.

Gerry was, of course, a member of Contact Studios for many years, and made a significant contribution to the running of the studios, and thereby has impacted significantly on the local and national scene. Below are some biographical notes for the interested reader:

‘Gerry O’Mahony, a graduate of LSAD Limerick, has lived in Ireland, Israel and Malawi. On returning to Ireland he became a member of one of Limerick’s first artist collectives (All + 10 sorts) and exhibited at length with the group. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and his work is part of private and public collections in Ireland and abroad, including Limerick County and City Councils, Government buildings, Dublin, and Berlaymont Buildings, Brussels.’

Expect a great crowd, a great show, and some great craic, followed by a few bevvies in The Glen Tavern, one of our sponsors. Our thanks also to Kevin O’Keefe of The Bigger Picture Framing Centre for his continued support!


‘The Stonebreakers’ new commission launched at Askeaton Contemporary Arts Festival, July 18 2018

Stonebreakers polaroid July 18 2018
Stonebreakers polaroid July 18 2018

I was honoured and excited to be part of the Welcome to the Neighborhood program of events, the 13th iteration of the Askeaton Contemporary Arts (ACA) Festival as curated by Michele Horrigan.

In association with ACA and working closely with the Office of Public Works (OPW), I have commenced a project entitled ‘The Stonebreakers’ exploring the day-to-day activities of the OPW workers on the site of Desmond Castle in Askeaton town. The project will see me embedded on various days over the course of perhaps 9-12 months on site, documenting the various activities undertaken through drawing.

Similar to my War Journal Project (see projects section of my website), my aim will be to push my drawing skills to capture an alternative take, and to more clearly understand how the Castle and OPW ecology works.

I intend to produce a publication, more than likely a comic to educate the public young to old on what goes on in stabilising and re-imagining the castle’s structure, and perhaps some larger illustrated panels referring to tools of the trade. We will also host another couple of informal public progress reports and information events over the lifetime of the project.

What are They Building Over There?, the title of the ACA event served as an information lunch for the general public, and my thanks to all who attended and made it happen.

Especial thanks to Joe & Edward (OPW), masons who gave a very informative talk and questions and answer session, and to Billy Foley (OPW) for his support,  and as always my thanks to ACA, and The Arts Council.

Further progress will be reported here in the future!

Cats solo show & Gallery Interlude Launch, 7-9pm June 22nd, Lucky Lane, Limerick

Excitement is building around the city and the studio as we prepare to launch Gallery Interlude. A partnership between Contact Studios and Lucky Lane, with the aim to provide a venue to exhibit works by Contact Studios members, and to draw attention to the lack of exhibition opportunities and cultural resources, we will operate at 6 week intervals. The first show is scheduled for 7-9pm, Friday June 22, and will be on view the following day also between 11am and 3pm.

'I, Squeal', oil on board, Carl Doran
‘I, Squeal’, oil on board, Carl Doran

Simply entitled ‘Cats’, I will present a solo exhibit consisting of 6 oil paintings, and 3 charcoal drawings, studies of my feline friends Squealer (pictured), Mindy & Mandy. The majority have been completed in the last few months, during my time in Wickham St. Studios, and have a playful, direct style, which I hope will be enjoyed by the public. It’s my first solo painting show in over 3 years, so there is some trepidation on my part, but sure that’s only normal.

A big shout out to Mark and Dave of Lucky Lane with whom I’ll collaborate. Their indoor market captures the essence of Old Limerick, and they, like myself are very keen on the idea of making the city viable as a living entity, and as a location that embraces and fosters the Arts.

A big shout out also to our other partners, The Bigger Picture Framing Centre, and the Glen Tavern, local businesses who will provide additional help and support to the project.

I’ll follow this post with an update on how things went, but do come along!!



Joining the gilded halls of Wickham Street Studios

studio in Wickham Jan 18
studio in Wickham Jan 18

Thrilled to be accommodated in the ranks of Wickham St Studios in Limerick, where I moved into in the second week or so of the New Year. With all the upset and tumult of closing Contact Studios last year, and concentrating on trying to keep it open, it was hard to keep creative. It’s a great relief therefore to just get in and draw, paint, think, have tea (or coffee!) and be among like minded individuals.

My sincere thanks to everyone involved, and I hope 2018 is an improvement on the last.

There are deeds afoot in train for this year, details of which to follow, but for now Happy New Year to all!!

Skippy’s Tale Launch, Chimera Gallery, Mullingar 6pm Friday December 8

Skippy peculiar walk
Skippy peculiar walk

I am honoured, as ever, to be in the company of the irrepressible Dave O’Shea, Commander in Chief of the Chimera Gallery, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath Friday December 8.

The occasion is my Hometown launch of Skippy’s Tale, and Dave has repeated his courtesy of two years ago (for Mathilda’s Tale), facilitating and hosting said launch.

As a story, and a project that has taken almost 3 years to realise, it is absolutely fantastic for me to be able to showcase my work to my Family, Friends, and the local audience where my journey started.

Sincere thanks to Dave, Mullingar, and my Family and Friends, hope to see ye there!!

Friday 5pm, November 24, Skippy’s Tale Limerick City Book Launch

Skippy's Tale Ruby Sunday launch poster
Skippy’s Tale Ruby Sunday launch poster

Absolutely thrilled to launch Skippy’s Tale, my second illustrated book this week in Limerick City.

It’s taken over 2 1/2 years for this to come to fruition, since my good friend Des Hayes first recounted the story of a childhood pet who strayed in one day.

Aside from relating a true story (with a little imagination/supposition), the book is my attempt to provide a platform for parents to introduce the topic of Death to a younger audience.

Ruby Sundays (formerly Café Noir) at 84 O’Connell St. is the venue, and all are welcome.

I’m also especially pleased to have the musical debut of Petty Cash (Pamela Dunne, Dan Collopy and Ivan Casey) providing some tuneful accompaniments to the event.

Contact Studios – A New Hope

Limerick Leader Cahill May Roberts
Limerick Leader Cahill May Roberts

Good News Everybody!

Absolutely thrilled and delighted to have a temporary home for Contact Studios in the Cahill May Roberts building in central Limerick.

We have been talking with representatives of the Limerick City and County Council Cultural Strategic Committee for the last 10 months or so, explaining the significance of our group, and the need for autonomous, well run studios for the city. We feel that our voices have been heard, and in particular that we represent not just current members, but also every potential future user of the studios.

With FG Councillor Michael Sheahan, FG Senator Kieran O’Hanlon we visited the Cahill May Roberts building, where we met Pat Brown, who (along with Ray O’Halloran and the Council) have graciously allowed us usage of the space, until the Council have a fresh space to move into prepared.

We have had overwhelmingly positive support from many, many people, not least because of kind coverage by Nick Rabbits of the Limerick Chronicle/Leader, Rose Rushe of the Limerick Post, and Joe Nash of Limerick Live 95 FM.

A special shout out to FF Councillor Jerry O’Dea who was a good neighbour to us on Mulgrave St, and fought very hard for us with his colleague Michael Sheahan, and Josephine Cotter Coughlan Director of Services with the Council.

A very heartfelt thank you to FF Willie O’Dea also, who has interceded on our behalf several times, and effectively secured an additional 7 months in Contact (Prime).

Lastly, a massive thank you to our previous members, Arts organisations, fellow practitioners and members of the Public who have given us great support. It has meant an awful lot in our darkest hour.

Contact Studios temporary home in Cahill May Roberts
Contact Studios temporary home in Cahill May Roberts

Closure of Contact Studios after 20 years, August 2017

Contact Studios Closing Day
Contact Studios Closing Day

After a long year and a half or so of the impending threat of closure, and no last minute reprieve as we had hoped for, Contact Studios, my artistic residence for 19 years, closed its doors for the final time on the afternoon of Friday 4th August.

It was an upsetting experience to put it mildly, for me and for my fellow 13 artists, to be uprooted with all our work, scattering pieces of art throughout the county and beyond and trying to remain positive.

I have been privileged to have been a part of the artistic community that has provided the opportunity for artists to live and practice in Limerick, to have made many great friends, and to contribute to the mental health services in Limerick.

Contact Studios Closing Day 2
Contact Studios Closing Day 2

I do hope that there will be some use made of the building that was our home for so long.