Visual Art & Culture in Connacht
Visual Arts in Galway, Mayo, Leitrim, Roscommon & Sligo (Ireland).

Turoe Stone, Celtic La Tene Public
Granite Sculpture, County Galway,
Ireland. See the Celtic spirals on it.

Connacht Visual Arts

Connacht is the western province in the Republic of Ireland. It contains the five Irish counties of Galway, Mayo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Sligo, with a combined population of 503,083 - less than half that of Munster and a quarter of Leinster. The main urban centres of Connacht are Galway City (population: 71,983) in the south, and Sligo town (population: 17,892) in the north. The Irish language remains a first language in several Gaeltacht areas of the province, notably West Mayo, and West Galway.

The Solitary Turg-Gatherer (1917) by
Paul Henry, noted for his Connacht
landscapes and his traditionalist
Irish art.

For details of exhibitions & shows
in galleries across Ireland, see:
Irish Art Exhibitions.

Early Arts and Culture

Connacht contains fewer artifacts and cultural remains from prehistoric or early Christian times than Leinster or Munster, although Galway is home to Ireland's finest surviving example of pagan monumental art. The sculpture, known as the Turoe Stone, stands almost six feet high and is decorated in the La Tene Celtic art style, with spiral patterns typical of Celtic designs from the end of the Iron Age. Meanwhile, at Drumcliffe, in Sligo - whose graveyard holds the remains of WB Yeats, one of Ireland's greatest literary artists - there are two Celtic High Cross sculptures. [For more about the development of visual arts, see History of Irish Art.]

Later Visual Arts

Connacht's spectacular Atlantic coastline and inland scenery has for centuries been a magnet for Irish landscape artists. For example, the landscape artist Paul Henry and his wife Grace worked on Achill island off the Mayo coast for several years during the early twentieth century. As a result, Connacht has a vibrant tradition of plein air painting.

For facts about top prices for
works by artists in Ireland, see:
Most Expensive Irish Paintings.

For a personal view about the
top 10 or so painters in Ireland
see: Best Irish Artists.

For a list of monuments of
cultural or artistic interest, see:
Architectural Monuments Ireland.
Archeological Monuments Ireland.

Connacht's Most Famous Art Venues

In addition to Galway Arts Centre, the province of Connacht contains several outstanding arts centres and cultural venues for both Irish painting and Irish sculpture. They include:

Leitrim Sculpture Centre
Situated in Manorhamilton, this extraordinary centre provides high quality facilities for sculptors, with a focus on stone carving and bronze casting. It includes ample studio space as well as a bronze foundry.

The Old Courthouse Arts Centre, Carrick-on-Shannon, ("The Dock")
This new arts facility is a fully integrated venue for Irish art and culture, accomodating a large performance space, three art galleries, plus artists studios, workshops and an educational area.

Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co Mayo
In addition to temporary exhibitions of works of art from the National Museum of Ireland (NMI) and the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI), this venue hosts a range of contemporary catalogued exhibitions, enhanced by gallery talks and workshops on the visual arts of Ireland.

Courthouse Gallery, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Ballycastle, Co Mayo
Launched in 1991 for professional artists, the centre provides irish artists with individual studios and accomodation. On departure, the artist gifts a work of art to the Gallery.

Roscommon Arts Centre, Roscommon Town
This includes a large performance area plus exhibition gallery and workshop spaces. Hosts a diverse program of exhibitions of painting, sculpture and other contemporary art forms.

Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo Town
An exciting venue featuring a host of arts events featuring top international artists like Andy Warhol, as well as Sligo and Irish painters, sculptors and contemporary installation artists.

Crafts in Connacht are funded through the Crafts Council of Ireland.

Connacht's Most Famous Visual Artists

Renowned painters and sculptors associated with the province include:

William Henry Bartlett, (Landscape Artist);
Augustus Nicholas Burke, (Landscapes and Rural Scenes);
Joseph Patrick Haverty, (Illustrator, Portraitist, Genre Artist);
Roderic O'Conor (Impressionist/Expressionist Landscapes and Interiors),
Percy (William) French, (Watercolourist, Musician and Illustrator)
Jack Butler Yeats, (Renowned Expressionist Painter).

Connacht's Most Famous Arts Festivals

These include: the Galway Film Fleadh (July), the Galway Arts Festival (July), and the Baboró Galway International Arts Festival for Children (October).

See also Art schools in Connacht.

• For more information about painting and sculpture in Ireland, see: Homepage.

Art Glossary
© All rights reserved.