The West of Ireland inspires some wonderful creativity so make sure you don’t miss out on some of the stunning galleries around our counties. Many of them are housed in beautifully renovated buildings with a history all of their own, and act as a community arts hub, bringing alive the arts scene in towns across the west. See for yourself…
From an old stone ruin to a local landmark
This old 18th-century house in Newquay, Burren has been restored from an old stone ruin into a beautiful three-storey building to house the Russell Gallery and, for those who want to relax and reflect some more, a shop, café and wine bar. Gallery owners Andy and Stefania Russell regularly host exhibitions and works by Irish artists, including the Raku ceramic works of Andy himself which reflect the beauty and wildness of the nearby Atlantic and the natural landmark, the Burren.
The Russell Gallery, Newquay, Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland, +353 65 7078185
Image courtesy of The Russell Gallery
The 1940’s bookshop which hosted Salvador Dalí
The Kenny Gallery began life as 1940’s bookshop in Liosbán, just outside Galway. But when owners Des and Maureen Kenny saw the potential of the local artists and crafters exhibited in the bookshop, they decided to convert their own living room into a gallery to give their art its own space. One of the first exhibitions to be held at this new art venue was a selection of paintings by the renowned Irish artist Sean Keating and over its 70 years, has hosted works by greats such as Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol.
Nowadays, the gallery is a thriving centre of the arts, still run and owned by the family and a definite tick on any art lover’s list.
The Kenny Gallery, Liosbán Retail Park, Tuam Road, Galway, Ireland, +353 91 709350
Image courtesy of The Kenny Gallery
The hub of Clifden arts
Nestled near the stunning twin spires of Clifden is the Whitethorn Art Gallery. Directed by award-winning painter Anne Merrins, it hosts an eclectic mix of tranquil watercolours, textured oil paintings and delicate bronze sculptures. The space attracts Irish and other key European artists.
Clifden itself is also a blossoming hub of artistic activity, with a growing art community who support the renowned annual Clifden Community Arts Festival.
The Whitethorn Gallery, Main Street, Clifden, Co. Galway, Ireland, +353 87 2275171
Image courtesy of The Whitethorn Gallery
From Lord Lucan’s Linen Hall to the west’s most important Arts Centre
The Linenhall Arts Centre is in the westerly coastal town of Castlebar. It occupies the landmark old Linen Hall built by Lord Lucan in 1790 for the busy linen trade of Mayo and was reincarnated as an Arts Centre in 1986.
Since then, it has grown with support from the Arts Council of Ireland to become one of the most prominent and important Centres for the arts, not only in the West of Ireland but throughout the country.
In addition to supporting local artists in their work by providing workshops, talks and exhibitions, the Linenhall is also a venue for national and international music, theatre, cinema and opera.
The Linenhall Arts Centre, Linenhall Street, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Ireland, +353 94 9023733
Image courtesy of Linen Hall
Home of the Niland Collection
Built in 1862, Sligo’s Model School has since been transformed into the progressive The Model arts centre which is seen as the heart of contemporary Irish art in the west of Ireland.
It houses the impressive Niland Collection of Art, which includes works from some of the most famous Irish artists such as Jack B. Yeats, Louis le Brocquy and Paul Henry. The Model has also made a name for delivering experimental, progressive and critically acclaimed art programmes.
The building is a vibrant space with a restaurant and coffee dock, a bookshop, a wonderful gallery circuit, a purpose built performance space, and a suite of impressive artist studios on the top floor with enviable views of Sligo town and County.
The Model, home of the Niland Collection, The Mall, Sligo, Ireland, +353 71 9141405
The Model, home of the Niland Collection © The Model
Image courtesy of The Model
Where Irish and International art meet
Tucked away from the Lough Swilly inlet in the northerly town of Ramelton, the Ross Fine Art Gallery is the Donegal specialist in contemporary art from both Irish and international roots. Opened in 2007, works by Jack B. Yeats and Norah McGuinness have graced its walls. The gallery also promotes the works of local Donegal artists, creating a diverse mix of artistic creations. The gallery is the brainchild of fine artist Janet Ross, whose own work is a regular fixture here.
Ross Fine Art Gallery, The Mall, Ramelton, Co. Donegal, Ireland, +353 74 9151926