Clare Visual Arts
Cultural History, Famous Painters/Sculptors and Art Venues and Resources.

County Clare, Munster Province
Republic of Ireland.

The Celts had a huge influence on
the development of Irish art.
Note: For an outline of Celtic culture
along with ancient artworks of the
Celts, see: Celtic Art. For details of
the earliest styles, which influenced
so many Irish metalworkers during
the renaissance of the early Christian
era, see: Hallstatt (c.800-450 BCE)
and La Tene (c.450-50 BCE).

Visual Arts in County Clare

Situated on the west coast of Ireland south of Galway and north of Limerick in the province of Munster, County Clare is home to The Burren - a unique area of limestone hills and fields popular with landscape artists - the 700 foot high Cliffs of Moher, and Shannon International Airport. It has a population of 101,266 and its capital is Ennis.

Early Visual Arts

The history of Irish visual arts is considered to begin with early carvings found at burial mounds such as Newgrange. Later examples of these Neolithic structures are Wedge Tombs, which can be found in various sites across County Clare. Another artifact from the early history of Irish art in Clare is the Celtic High Cross at Kilfenora. Originally occupied by a monastery started by St Fachtna, it is now the site of a twelfth century Cathedral. Celtic High Crosses were one of the great contributions to Western European free-standing sculpture.

For a list of buildings/sites of
historical, architectural or
artistic significance, see:
Architectural Monuments Ireland and
Archeological Monuments Ireland.

Famous Visual Artists

Famous modern artists born in or associated with County Clare, include:

Barrie Cooke, (Abstract Expressionist Painter) and Anne Madden, (Abstract Painter). Other renowned artists include: Fredrick William Burton, (Watercolourist), Catherine Kingcome, (Realistic Oil Painter), William Mulready, (Rural Artist and Genre Painter), Mick O'Dea, (Portrait Artist), James O'Halloran, (Impressionist Landscape and Interior Painter), Samuel Walsh, (Contemporary Artist) and Patrick Walshe, (Watercolourist), Tomás O'Maoldomhnaigh (classical realist portrait painter), Carmel Madigan, and Carmel Doherty M.Phil.


Arts and Cultural Centres

Here is a small selection of arts, crafts and other cultural venues in County Clare.

Art at the Park
Julie Douglas' wonderfully motivational art school.

Bunratty Castle
Features the stunning fifteenth century Bunratty Castle and nineteenth century Bunratty Folk Park. (Bunratty Village, Co. Clare. Tel: 061-360788)

Burren Display Centre
Located 7 miles SE of Lisoonvarna, this centre features displays showing the archaeology, history, local treasures and unique flowers of the district, together with a large-scale model of the Burren landscape. Nearby are the ruins of a 12th-century cathedral.

Corofin Heritage Centre
The Corofin Heritage Centre features a small but comprehensive museum on life in 19th-century Clare, while the nearby Dysert O'Dea Castle has an archaeology centre, with local museum and audio-visual presentation.

Cliffs of Moher Interpretive Centre
Atlantic Edge, the new interpretive heritage centre at the Cliffs of Moher, features a huge cave containing fascinating images and exhibits. (Tel: 065 7086141)

Craggaunowen Prehistoric Park
The Living Past Experience is Ireland's award winning Pre-history Park that portrays and interprets Ireland's ancient and early Christian eras. (Craggaunowen, Kilmurray, Co. Clare. Tel: 061-360788)

East Clare Heritage Centre
St Cronan's church in Tuamgraney, on the west shores of Lough Derg, is probably the finest surviving example of an early Christian church in Ireland. The 10th-century nave houses the heritage centre, which presents the history of the area, including its associations with Brian Boru, who enlarged the church in 1007 and restored the now vanished round tower beside it. In addition, the centre has a number of rare books and papers, plus a video presentation. Numerous artifacts from the offshore Holy Island, which had a large and ancient religious settlement dating back to the 7th century and earlier, have been returned to the Centre.

Ennis Friary
A thirteenth century Franciscan monastery featuring numerous fifteenth/sixteenth century sculptures carved in local stone. (Ennis Friary Visitor Centre, Lower Abbey Street, Ennis, Co. Clare. Tel: 065 6829100)

Glor Ennis Centre
Said to be Clare's premier arts and entertainment venue, offering music, theatre, and art events., food and people. (Friars Walk, Ennis. Tel: 065 6843103)

Killaloe Heritage Centre
Situated at the south end of Lough Derg, Killaloe has a fine new heritage centre by the 13-arch bridge across the River Shannon. It features flora and fauna, old waterways craft and materials on the life of Brian Boru, Ireland's greatest High King, who was born nearby.

Art Galleries

Ennis Art Gallery
Located in the centre of Ennis. Presents contemporary art by established and emerging Irish artists. Hosts both solo and group exhibitions throughout the year. For details, phone: (065-689-2760).

The Lahinch Art Gallery
Run by North Clare arts patron Carmel Kenny, the gallery presents Irish Art with an emphasis on Irish subjects. Hosts a diverse range of artworks, from oil paintings and Irish sculpture to mixed media. Lahinch stages both one-person and group shows. For details, phone: (065-708-1400).

Other County Clare galleries include:

De Valera Gallery, Ennis: 065-6846353
Morrison Gallery, Doolin: 065-7075646
Morrison Gallery, Lahinch: 065-7082839
Russell Gallery, Burren: 065-7078185
West Clare Gallery, Ennistymon: 087-2418810

Other Arts Resources

Art schools and studios in County Clare include:

Burren College of Art
Newtowncastle, Ballyvaughan
Phone: (065) 7077200

Burren Painting Centre
Phone: (065) 7074208

Mountain Lodge Pottery and Art School
Knockfune, Newport
Phone: (062) 79126

Tulla Stables Studios
Church Street, Tulla
Phone: (065) 6846267

• For more about Irish culture, see: Ireland Visual Arts.
• For more about the historical heritage of the province of Munster, see: Homepage.
• For a list of the top living painters in Ireland, see: Best Irish Artists/Painters.
• For details of fine arts venues in Ireland, see: Irish Art Galleries.

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