Visual Arts in Limerick
Cultural History, Ardagh Chalice, Famous Art Museums (like National Self-Portrait Collection, Hunt Museum) and Galleries.

County Limerick, Munster Province,
Republic of Ireland.

Note: For an introduction to Celtic
and the ancient artifacts of
the Celts, see: Celtic Art. For facts
about the two earliest styles, which
influenced so many Irish artists
during the golden age of the early
Christian era in Ireland, see:
Hallstatt (c.800-450 BCE) and
La Tene (c.450-50 BCE).

Visual Arts in County Limerick

Lying south of Clare and north of Cork in the province of Munster, County Limerick (Luimneach) has a population of 175,304 and is named after the City of Limerick on the River Shannon. Limerick City is a major cultural and commercial centre in the county, hosting the University of Limerick, and numerous cultural institutions.

Early Visual Arts

One of Limerick's earliest art treasures was the famous Ardagh Chalice, which was discovered in 1868, in a field near the village of Ardagh, County Limerick. Comparable with the Derrynaflan Chalice, the Ardagh Chalice is one of the great surviving masterpieces of Celtic metalwork from the Irish Insular art period (c.700-900) - the golden age in the history of Irish art. Other items in the Ardagh Hoard, included a smaller bronze ministerial cup and four brooches.


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

Arts Centres and Institutions

Limerick boasts several arts centres/institutions, both of which contribute greatly to visual arts and culture within the county and beyond.

Limerick City Art Gallery

One of Ireland's oldest galleries, Limerick City Gallery of Art presents exhibitions featuring Irish sculpture and Irish painting from its Permanent Collection as well as temporary art shows. Its own collection contains representative works of modern Irish art in all media, including: drawing, painting, sculpture, fine art photography and contemporary media. Famous Irish artists in the collection include: Paul Henry, Sean Keating, Jack B. Yeats, John Morris and the sculptress Dorothy Cross. In addition, the Limerick City Gallery of Art houses the National Collection of Contemporary Drawing. At the end of each year, the Gallery hosts the annual exhibition of the Limerick Art Society - the oldest art society in Ireland.

Other galleries include: Angela Woulfe Gallery, Limerick (061-310164); Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick (061-319866); Gallery 75, Limerick (061-315650); Limerick Printmakers, Limerick (061-311806); Ruby Lane Fine Art, Limerick (061-446699); Thomas Street Arts Framing Centre, Limerick (061-410199).

The National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland

Housed at the University of Limerick, the National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland includes 400 self-portraits by native or resident Irish artists, in a variety of media including: tempera, watercolour, gouache, oils, acrylics, drawings in pen and ink, crayon, pastels, mixed media, bronze and stone sculpture, stained glass, etching, dry-point, woodblock, whalebone, porcelain and stone, ceramics and photographs.


Famous Artists

Famous Limerick painters and sculptors include: Douglas Alexander, (Landscapes); Norman Garstin, (Figure and Landscape Painter); Sean Keating, (Romantic Realist Painter); Dermod O'Brien, (Portraitist, Landscape and Figure Painter); John Shinnors, (Contemporary Abstract Landscapes); Donald Teskey, (Landscape Artist). Other renowned names include: Valerie Brennan, (abstract landscapes); Diana Copperwhite, (Abstracts); Jack Donovan, (Figure Painter); Christopher Doran, (Founder Member of the Limerick Art Society); Bridget Fahy, (colourist); Martin Finnin, (Contemporary Mixed-Media Artist); Mike Fitzharris, (Landscapes in Oils and Mixed-Media); St George Hare, (Figure Painter); Kate Hennessy, (Contemporary); Pamela Leonard, (Watercolourist and Printmaker); Brian MacMahon, (Landscapes noted for Impasto); Roger McCarthy (landscape artist); Henry Morgan, (Expressionist Figurative Painter); Jeremiah Hodges Mulcahy, (Landscapes); Geraldine O'Brien, (Flower Painter); Fergus O'Ryan, (Printmaker and Oil Painter); Thomas Ryan, (Portraiture, Landscape, Still Life and Historical Paintings); and Walter Verling, (Landscape Artist).

• 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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