Desmond Castle visit August 15 2019

The Hellfire Club

Had a nice day (between showers and gusts) in Askeaton making some new drawings for my Stonebreakers project. I have concentrated my efforts before this mostly on the routines and tasks carried out by the masons, G.O.’s (General Operatives), scaffolders and carpenters on the actual Desond Castle site – now I am beginning the conclusion of sorts to the task.

Though there will remain an element of looking at the lads at work, and trying to educate myself in their work, my aim now is to work from mainly outside, capturing how the site is viewed (visible) from around the town of Askeaton itself.

The Gate Lodge

The 2 drawings above were from across the Diver Deel behind the Civic Trust, and thankfully are relatively successful drawings to begin a new A3 sketchbook. Hopefully we will have a locational sense of all the components that make up the site by the end.

Old habits die hard though, and I did manage to make a brief gestural drawing of Billy, site foreman, digging to check what kind of foundations underpin the Gate Lodge.

Hope he digs it!

Through my eyes, by Ciarán O’Sullivan at Gallery Interlude, August 9

Another sabháiste poster for Ciarán’s show by Interlude member Ciaran Nash

For our 5th show of 2019 we were absolutely delighted to host Contact Studios’ Alumnus Ciarán O’Sullivan. I have the honour of knowing Ciarán since we both joined 2nd year Painting in Limerick School of Art, in the old Bruce House building, graduating in 1998.

As can be seen from the poster above, Ciarán’s work distinctively crosses, re-crosses and ultimately dissolves the lines between abstraction and representation. I noted on the night how his work developed from a hard style of Abstract Expressionism back then to his more recent (last 10 years or so) works which have combined this with portraiture of family and friends, images captured at unguarded/candid moments.

(l-r) Ciarán O’Sullivan (artist), Carl Doran (Gallery Interlude), Mark Sheehan (Lucky Lane).

Many years ago we used to live opposite Mark Sheehan of Lucky Lane, our hosts and patrons for our Interlude project, and have been great friends since then, and there was great sport (see above image!) at the opening. There was a fantastic turnout, and myself, Isabella Walsh and Ciaran Nash of the ‘Lude team were thoroughly satisfied with the reception for the work, and indeed another creative use of our ‘one – shot’ exhibition format.

Busy busy busy photo courtesy Ciaran Nash

We also would like to welcome new sponsors Art Mad/Normoyle &Frawley Framing, who are generously giving purchasers of works from our shows 15% off framing services.

Our thanks as always to all in Lucky Lane, The Glen Tavern and Art Mad, and of course to the daoine uaisle who attended – go raibh míle míle!

Next up, Seán Lynch and Michele Horrigan on Culture Night September 20th – expect some cages to be rattled!

Scratch by Seán Healy at Gallery Interlude, June 28 2019

Poster by GI team member Ciaran Nash for 'Scratch'
Poster by GI team member Ciaran Nash for ‘Scratch’

Marking a year and a week to the day to the first ‘Interlude show, the team were delighted to host another unique show, composed of Painterly Interventions, artist made scratch-cards, a brand new website created for the show, and an opportunity for members of the public (and our team!), to try out Letterpress printmaking.

Opening night 'Scratch'
Opening night ‘Scratch’

The artist in question was none other than Seán ‘Rusty’ Healy, who in his own words at the opening, stressed he was down in Limerick to support us, the arts community, and the Limerick community at large.

The Letterpress printing had been in the pipeline for some time, with a fact finding visit/tutorial by ‘Interlude member Isabella Walsh, who also officiated on the night in that capacity. It was most enjoyable, and educational, and with each donation to the project, patrons also received a limited edition scratchcard featuring Royal heads over Treaty city landmarks – sabháiste!

Back – mischievous Interlude member Isabella Walsh and Askeaton Contemporary Michele Horrigan, Front Seán Healy

Our sincere thanks to Seán, Lucky Lane, The Glen Tavern and also to The Bigger Picture’s Kevin O’Keefe for his sponsorship over the last year, which  unfortunately will be the last time in his case.

And of course go raibh míle míle to the public for your continued support!

We will return August 9th for a show by Louth’s finest, Ciarán O’Sullivan.

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