Visual Arts & Culture in Leinster
Art in Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow.

Aerial View of Newgrange Neolithic
Tomb Complex, County Meath, one
of the great starting points in the
history of Irish art.

Leinster Visual Arts

The richest and most populous province in the Republic of Ireland (population: 2,292,939), Leinster encompasses the Midlands and the South-East and comprises the counties of Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow. Its chief city is Dublin. Other populous towns or boroughs include: Kilkenny, Drogheda, Dundalk, Bray, Navan, Naas, Wexford, Mullingar, Newbridge, Athlone, Cellbridge, Portlaoise, Tallaght and Tullamore. The province features all of Ireland's important rivers, including the Barrow, Boyne, Liffey and Shannon.

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

Detail from Book of Kells (c.800)
This beautiful illuminated manuscript,
an outstanding example of Celtic art,
illustrates numerous Celtic designs.

Early Arts and Culture

Leinster's earliest visual arts are to be found in County Meath at the Brú na Bóinne neolithic Stone Age complex - built at Newgrange about 3200 BCE - now a World Heritage Site. Leinster also has numerous examples of medieval High Cross sculpture, such as the three crosses at Kells monastery, and the Durrow Cross in Offaly. The province of Leinster is also the home of several priceless illuminated manuscripts (eg. Book of Kells, Book of Durrow) of the Hiberno-Saxon Insular Art tradition. [For more about the development of fine arts in Ireland, see History of Irish Art.]

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

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

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

Leinster's Most Famous Art Venues

Dublin remains the focus of Leinster's art and culture, not least because it houses the lead patrons of the visual arts of Ireland, including: the Irish Department of Arts, Culture Ireland, The Irish Arts Council and the Per Cent for Art Scheme, as well as a wide range of cultural institutions and venues, such as:

National Museum of Ireland (NMI)
Home to numerous treasures exemplifying early Irish art, such as: the Ardagh Chalice, the Broighter Gold Hoard, the Derrynaflan Chalice, the Derrynaflan Paten, the Moylough Belt, the Petrie Crown, and the Tara Brooch.

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


National Gallery of Ireland
Home to 14,000 artworks, including a comprehensive selection of Irish artists, Old Master paintings by Velázquez, Goya, Caravaggio, Vermeer, Titian, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Rembrandt, Rubens, van Dyck, Monet and Picasso, plus a collection of Turner watercolours, drawings, miniatures, prints and sculptures.

Trinity College Library
Home to the masterpieces of Hiberno-Saxon Art, such as: Book of Kells (800), Book of Dimma (620); and the Book of Durrow (670).

Other exciting and diverse collections of fine art Irish painting, prints, Irish sculpture, installation art and photography can be seen at Dublin's other galleries including: Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Chester Beatty Library, the Dublin Gallery of Photography and the National Print Museum. The capital also boasts a diverse range of private art galleries, presenting a host of landscapes, portraits, genre paintings, still-lifes, together with abstract contemporary works by Irish and overseas artists.

Other Leinster Art Venues

Art galleries outside Dublin in the province of Leinster include:

- National Centre for Contemporary Art (Carlow Town)
- Riverbank Arts Centre, at Co Kildare's Cultural Campus at Newbridge
- Mullingar Arts Centre in Co Westmeath
- National Craft Gallery and the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny City
- Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise, Co Laois.
- Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda, Co Louth

Leinster's Most Famous Visual Artists

Renowned Leinster-born painters and sculptors, or those associated with the province, include:

Francis Bacon, (Expressionist Figure Paintings);
George Barret Senior, (Landscape Paintings);
Brian Bourke, (Landscapes and Self-Portraits);
Charles Brady, (Irish American Landscape and Still Life Artist);
James Brenan, (Realistic Genre Paintings);
Samuel Frederick Brocas, (Cityscapes and Genre Canvases);
George Campbell, (Still Life and Landscape Artist);
Lilian Lucy Davidson, (Landscape, Portrait and Genre Painter);
Richard Kingston, (Landscape, Still Life and Flower Painter);
Brian Maguire, (Expressionist Painter);
Rasher (Contemporary Figurative and Still Life Painter);
Camille Souter, (Landscape Artist);
Stanhope Alexander Forbes, (Anglo-French Rural Life Paintings);
Martin Gale, (Figure and Landscape Artist);
Ken Hamilton, (Contemporary Classical-Style Painter);
Patrick Hickey, (Etcher, Landscape, Printmaker and Lithographic Artist);
Evie Hone, (Painter and Stained Glass Artist);
Mainie Jellett, (Abstract Artist and Figure Painter);
Charles Jervas, [Jarvis] (Portraiture);
Graham Knuttel, (Figurative Painter and Sculptor);
Louis le Brocquy, (Ireland's greatest 20th century artist);
William John Leech, (Leading Plein Air Painter, Impressionist);
Patrick Leonard, (Realism);
Maurice MacGonigal, (Landscapes and Portraits);
Sean McSweeney, (Landscape Paintings);
Richard Thomas Moynan, (Genre Painter);
William Orpen, (Academic Portraitist and War Artist);
Walter Osborne, (Irish Impressionist);
Sean O'Sullivan, (Portraitist);
Sarah Purser, (Portraits and Stained Glass Artist);
Sean Scully, (Abstract Art);
Mary Swanzy, (Figure, Landscape Artist and Portraitist);
Francis Tansey, (Contemporary Abstract Artist);
Kenneth Webb, (Landscapes);
Leo Whelan, (Portraits and Genre Scenes);
Mildred Anne Butler, (Landscapes);
John Doherty, (Photo-Realist Painter and Landscapes);
William John Hennessy, (Landscape, Genre Painter and Illustrator);
John Lavery, (Portraitist, War Artist);
Hughie O'Donoghue, (Contemporary Artist);
Tony O'Malley, (Abstract Landscape Painter).

For painters and sculptors from Ireland's capital city, see Dublin Artists.

Arts Festivals

The number of fine arts and performing arts festivals in Leinster is too large to list here, but consider these examples:

Dublin Electronic Arts Festival
One of the most forward-thinking arts events in Ireland's cultural calendar. Showcases the electronic arts to new audiences in Ireland.

Wexford Opera Festival
One of Europe's foremost operatic events.

Lough Ree Environmental Summer School & Arts Festival
Held at Lanesborough, Co Longford.

Wicklow Arts Festival and Bray Jazz Festival
Co Wicklow.

See also: Art schools in Leinster.

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

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