June 2019 visit to Desmond Castle, Askeaton as part of The Stonebreakers Project

June 2019

A pair of Peregrine Falcons have been scanning the castle for the last number of years for a safe and suitable nesting site, according to Foreman Billy Foley. From quite a distance below I tried to capture the (substantially smaller) male, keeping a keen eye on the chicks. A little later the female returned, amid the ‘squeaky wheel’ call. They are welcome visitors!

Site works

The work continues on site, be it maintenance with DJ keeping the lawns manicured, and Billy showing the wood/timber expert around, assessing how solid and safe these aspects are all round the complex.

Desmond Gate Lodge
Desmond Gate Lodge

It was a real treat to see inside the Gate Lodge – the building displays characteristics from many building periods, and the river Deel flows right under its floorboards!

A great and enjoyable day of chat, learning and drawing!

KFest Screaming Pope Prize, Killorglin, Co. Kerry 2019 – updated

Sreaming Pope Prize Ceremony 2019
Screaming Pope Prize Ceremony 2019

What a way to end the weekend at KFest! Above, a bad photo from the immense crowd attending the wrap up/ closing ceremony, which also featured the announcement of the Finalists, and ultimate winner of The Screaming Pope Prize, Galway based Tom Mc Clean.

I had a very engaging day before in Killorglin, investigating a myriad of artworks by near 100 artists. It was super to get a chance to talk to artists, many of them recent graduates about their work, techniques and practices – and I learned a lot myself too. The in depth conversations with Neil of the Festival Committee, and Seán Kissane of IMMA on the judging panel were also a highlight, and there were many contenders.

Kudos to the festival committee, and indeed the whole town for its openness, respect and indeed love for the event. Myself and all the guests were treated royally, and I am especially indebted to Neil Browne and Tricia O’Connor for their dedication to ensuring this, and for the incisive nature of our conversations.

KFest has many parallels with artist led initiatives around the country, not least with Askeaton Contemporary Art, and our own Contact Studios’ initiatives including Gallery Interlude – bringing art directly to the community in a relevant and inclusive manner. It’s all the more impressive given the limited budget – I sincerely hope funding is increased in coming years!

I’m super happy to see my old friend Dave O’Shea of The Chimera Gallery in Mullingar is hosting Tom’s work this weekend also, the only pity being I can’t attend. Best of luck to all!

KFest Screaming Pope Prize, Killorglin, Co. Kerry 2019


It’s an honour for me to be asked to be a member of the panel for The Screaming Pope Prize, as part of KFest 2019, in Killorglin, Co. Kerry.

It was my pleasure to speak on behalf of Askeaton Contemporary Arts at a VAI event in 2017 at the KFest, and I was impressed with the dedication and vision of Neil Browne, Tricia O’Connor and many others to invigorating a town through direct action.

The prize itself for the award is 1000€, and four finalists will also receive a cash prize – fantastic for any artist!

At the end of the day, we all need to show our work to as wide and diverse an audience as possible, and KFest delivers on all levels.

Should ye find yourselves hungry for culture this June Bank Holiday, I highly recommend a visit to this fabulous Kerry Jewel!


Fragments by Julie Brazil at Gallery Interlude

Beyond a Balcony

It was our great pleasure to host our friend and colleague Julie Brazil at ‘Interlude last April 5th. It was also a treat to provide a platform for her first solo in the Treaty City, and met with a great reception.

Like the above piece, the works were small in scale, collage, painting and drawing merging to create tension filled works of beauty.

Myself, Ciaran Nash and Isabella Walsh of the Gallery Interlude team wish her every success in the future, and look forward to seeing the next Julie Brazil opus in the near future!

Rory Prout ‘The Lowering Skies’ at Gallery Interlude, February 22nd 2019

Rory Prout, Noelle Collins and Isabella Walsh of Gallery Interlude

For the first exhibition of 2019 we hosted Rory ‘The Dam Builder’ Prout, with his fine array of amazingly subtle paintings inspired by his cycles around the countryside, and titled via Flan O’Brien’s The Third Policeman.

It was a night of firsts for us at ‘Interlude – our first show of 2019, the first time we had an artist travel from abroad (via Eastborne in England), and indeed, Rory’s first solo show in Ireland.

The Lowering Skies poster, designed by Ciaran Nash
The Lowering Skies poster, designed by Ciaran Nash

There was a fantastic turn out, and indeed a few familiar faces from the past turned up from as far away as Tipperary, Kilkenny and Dublin. We sincerely hope to see more of Rory, and his excellent work in the future, and as part of our manifesto, we will continue to show the best of art, and campaign for venues and avenues to show it in Limerick City into 2019.

As always, a million thanks to Mark, Dave, Steve and Noah of Lucky Lane, and our supporters The Bigger Picture Framing Centre and The Glen Tavern.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh ar son mise, Isabella Walsh agus Ciaran Nash (Foireann Gallery Interlude).

Steve (Lucky Lane), Artist Rory Prout, Carl and Mark (Lucky Lane).

Celebrating a year of Gallery Interlude, and ringing in the next!

(l-r) Mark Sheehan (Lucky Lane, Carl Doran (Contact Studios/Gallery Interlude), Ger Callinan (Glen Tavern), Kevin O’Keefe (Bigger Picture Framing Centre).

It seemed timely for Gallery Interlude and our sponsors to get together for a photo op this January, especially when we were presenting The Glen Tavern with their very own set of ‘Interlude posters. Interlude member – and future exhibitor! – Ciaran Nash has done a wonderful job designing our posters and brought a real sense of play and aesthetic to our program. Look out for them in our favourite Limerick hostelry in the near future.

The Gallery Interlude team, myself, Isabella Walsh and Ciaran Nash, would like to sincerely thank Mark and Dave of Lucky Lane for facilitating our project since last June, and look forward to working with them in 2019.

A massive thank you to Ger and the team at The Glen Tavern for sponsoring beverages for each show, not to mention the moral support!

We are also very happy for the support of Kevin (Caoimh) of The Bigger Picture Framing Centre for keeping us in the frame.

To all the Contact members and the public we’re extremely grateful, and look forward with some optimism for the year ahead.

Go raibh míle míle maith agaibh!!!


Network Contact at Gallery Interlude, December 14 – 17th

Network Contact

Our 5th, and last show in Gallery Interlude for 2018 is Network Contact, a group show of works on paper, predominantly drawing, by 16 artists of Contact Studios. The artists span the 21 year period since Contact was established, and highlights the diversity of approaches and mediums employed by these talented individuals.

The night will kick off at 7pm as usual, and given the time of year, we will serve mulled wine to our guests.

Coincidentally, December 14th marks the first day of Lucky Lane’s (our hosts) fifth anniversary of opening, so we’ll also have a rather special launch, with music and fun, and some fundraising for good local causes.

Network Contact Artists: Kathleen Bartlett, Julie Brazil, Ann Daly, Michael Delohery, Carl Doran, Maurice Foley, Declan Greene, Seán Healy, Luci Lane, Laura MacMorrow, Hugh McMahon, Anne Marie Morrin, Gerry O’Mahony, Ciarán O’Sullivan, Nuala O’Sullivan, Isabella Walsh

Isabella Walsh – Transmitter/Receiver [I caught your radio waves] at Gallery Interlude, November 2-5 2018


It’s one of the privileges of having a hand in running a gallery that you get to facilitate, see and promote the work of artists you admire and would like to see represented more widely. Friday November 2nd is another such occasion, when we unveil Isabella Walsh’s multi – disciplinary show, Transmitter/Receiver [I caught your radio waves].

Isabella has been an integral part of Contact Studios since she joined a number of years ago, while also being a key member of the Gallery Interlude project for which I’m very grateful, and is an all round superstar. The show is choc full of several different drawing approaches – pen and ink, multi media and paintings, all revolving around the Castleconnell, Co. Limerick landscape, which has been her home for many years.

Having seen the layout for the show I’m fierce excited to see how it works in the ‘Interlude space, and indeed, I think the audience reaction will be great!

As always, a sincere thank you to Mark and Dave of Lucky Lane, Isabella, Ciaran Nash for the (super) poster design, Kevin O’Keefe of The Bigger Picture Framing Centre, and The Glen Tavern, where we will attend after.

Below is a snippet from ‘Bella’s statement, and do come along should ye be about!

‘This body of work is about relationships -physical, emotional and temporal. It began with my consideration of my relationship to this landscape, a place I have known my whole life and will soon be leaving. Since April 2018 this pair of towers, their relationship to each other and to the landscape surrounding, became the focus of my observation on daily walks in the area. In particular how they appear to change depending on my perspective. These changes are documented through plein air painting, drawing and photography. Through this sustained process of observation I have contemplated all of my close relationships: with other people; myself; and this place’, Isabella Walsh.

Inauguration into The National Self Portrait Collection

Self Portrait 2017

It was a case of a great day had by all last October 12th, with the official unveiling of the 2017 and 2018 additions to the National Self Portrait Collection, at the Bourn Vincent Gallery in the University Of Limerick. The great and the good, and 14 of 20 artists attended, and were fed and watered while receiving insights from the podium into each work.

Many well wishers attended (including my parents), and I must express my gratitude to all who made the effort to attend, and the kind words.

My especial thanks to Yvonne Davis of the Bourn Vincent for all her work and assistance, and indeed, to the board members for inviting me to participate.

As always, my thanks to Declan Greene – unsurpassed Fine Art Photographer, and fine Painter – for the great documentation of the work.

For the benefit of any viewer of the collage piece, below is the script from the catalogue:

‘At Home, New Road, Thomondgate, with my Friends (l-r) Cáit (RIP), Squeal(er), Mandy & Mindy, 2017, Collage on Board, 47x60cm

‘At Home…’ portrays a typical evening at my house in New Road, where I have lived for over ten years.
It is a fairly faithful recreation of my sitting room, containing depictions of myself, with back to the viewer, watching snooker (which I love!), with my three cat friends, Squealer (Matriarch), and two daughters Mandy (Tabby Cat), and Mindy, in their respective seated positions. At the back door, seated on a wheelie bin outside, is a representation of my long lost friend, and mother to Squeal’, Cáit, who’s disappearance prompted me to begin my Cats’ Tales series in an effort to preserve her memory. (Keen-eyed viewers will also spot a mouse!)
As an artist I tend to collect other artworks from artists I respect and admire, and some of these are referenced in the work – (l-r) Kevin O’ Keefe Daffodil Study, Michael Delohery Refusal to Play, Broken Dreams (by myself), two pieces by Laura McMorrow, Ciarán O’Sullivan Apprehension, and a ceramic vase by Clare Butler. My own two illustrated books are also referenced laying on a chair – Mathilda & the Belligerent Blackbird (yellow cover), and Skippy’s Tale (purple cover).
There are various references to my own personal preferences and lifestyle also – a Golden Virginia pack, a stainless steel coffee pot I bought in Centra many years back (and is unbreakable!), a wooden inlaid box depicting two cats
my parents bought me as a gift from Italy, and a humorous ashtray my Mother brought back for me from Las Vegas which reads Carl’s Butts.
Also pictured are two musical instruments, a ukulele and a shaker (on the armrest) referencing my time playing music with Luggage Doors Operating.
The piece is made entirely of collage, small pieces of magazines cut up to create a painting type effect – a process/technique I call Aesthetic Collage.

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.