Visual Arts in Tipperary
Cultural History, Derrynaflan Chalice, Rock of Cashel, Famous Painting/Sculpture and Art Venues.

County Tipperary, Munster Province,
Republic of Ireland.

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 Tipperary

Situated in the southern central area of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Munster, the sprawling County of Tipperary (Tiobraid Árainn) has a population of 140,131 and is divided administratively into two sections: Tipperary North (capital Nenagh) and Tipperary South (capital Clonmel). Tipperary is famous for the Rock of Cashel whose records date from the forth century.

Early Visual Art

County Tipperary is associated with three important items from the earliest period in the history of Irish art. First, the Derrynaflan Chalice - an outstanding example of early religious metalwork made by Irish metallurgists in the eighth or ninth centuries, which was discovered on farmland close to the site of an early Irish monastery, in 1980. Other treasures found in the so-called Derrynaflan Monastery Hoard include a silver paten, a paten stand, and a bronze basin. All are now exhibited at the National Museum of Ireland.

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

High Crosses

Another of County Tipperary's earliest artworks are the Celtic High Crosses at Cashel, which exemplify Irish sculpture during the Medieval period. Like the Cross of Cong, in County Mayo, the Cashel crosses are decorated in the Nordic Ringerike and Urnes styles - a sign of the influence of Viking artists on Irish sculptors. A third item of Tipperary-made Irish art from the same period (c.1150), is the Book of Leinster/Noughaval, one of a series of illuminated manuscripts produced by monks in North Tipperary. Although not as old or as beautiful as other gospel texts, such as the Book of Kells, or the Book of Durrow, it is a fine example of early Christian Art in the Insular style.


The town of Cashel, the historical Seat of Kings is now a heritage town. Its architectural centrepiece is the Rock of Cashel with its Round tower (c.1100), huge castle and cathedral, along with the Chapel of King Cormac, consecrated in 1134. The entire edifice is like a piece of medieval visual art. At its foot is Bru Boru's heritage centre. In addition, Cashel contains several abbeys and a Folk Village which celebrates native Irish folk arts including music, song, dance, theatre, and Celtic studies.

Holycross Abbey

A few miles from Thurles, in County Tipperary stands Holycross Abbey, one of Ireland's important monastic sites. Although not associated with any surviving artworks, such as illuminated religious manuscripts, the abbey was part of the Irish monastic culture that preserved Western art and culture during the Dark Ages.

Famous Artists

Celebrated Irish artists born in Tipperary include: James Latham (Portraits), Rose Maynard Barton, (Townscape Painter); Alice Maher, (Expressionist Painter and Sculptor); Patrick Hall, (Contemporary Artist); John Keating, (Figure Painting, Watercolour, Charcoal and Mixed-Media); Bernadette Kiely, (Contemporary Abstract Artist, renowned for her Impasto Studies of Landscape); contemporary artist, Declan O'Connor, (Portraitist, Landscape and Equestrian Artist); Desmond Shortt, (Contemporary Landscapes)

Art Venues

Art galleries in county Tipperary include: the Narrow Space Gallery in Clonmel (052-27838), as well as South Tipperary Arts Centre, Clonmel (052-27877); Source Arts Centre, Thurles (0504-90204); and Tipperary Excel Arts Gallery, Tipperary Town (062-80520).

• 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.

© All rights reserved.