Visual Arts & Culture in Munster
Art in Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.

The Petrie Crown, discovered in
Munster (National Museum).
One of the great antiquities of
Celtic art. See the spiral motifs,
so typical of Celtic designs of the
La Tene era.

Munster Visual Arts

Munster (An Mhumhain), an important province in the visual arts of Ireland, occupies the south-western region of Ireland. With a population of 1,172,170 it comprises the six counties of Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. The largest city in Munster is Cork. During the Irish Civil War, the province of Munster temporarily declared independence from the Irish Government over the Anglo-Irish Treaty, styling itself the Munster Republic. Home to several important organizations in Irish art, its notable cities and towns include: Ennis, Cork City, Tralee, Killarney, Limerick City, Thurles, Cashel, Tipperary town, Dungarvon and Waterford City. The Irish language remains in daily use in several Gaeltacht (Gaelic speaking) areas of Munster, such as parts of West Kerry, south-west Cork and south-west Waterford.

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

Early Arts and Culture

Munster has several connections with prehistoric or early Irish art. For example, Cork is the origin of the Iron Age treasure the Petrie Crown, while Limerick's earliest work of art was the Ardagh Chalice from the Irish Insular art period, and Tipperary is associated with the Derrynaflan chalice. Munster has numerous famous examples of Celtic High Cross sculpture - including the stone High Crosses at Cashel - as well as well-preserved examples of monastic architecture, such as the monastic World Heritage Site on Skellig Michael and the Gallarus Oratory - both in Co Kerry - Holycross Abbey and the medieval buildings surmounting the Rock of Cashel, in Co Tipperary. Note that medieval monasteries were beacons of scriptural and secular scholarship during the Dark Ages, and helped to preserve Western Arts and Culture until the Renaissance. [For more about the development of visual arts in Munster, see History of Irish Art.]


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

For a personal view about the
top 20 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.

Munster's Most Famous Art Venues

Unlike Leinster, the province of Munster is more decentralised, with excellent art centres across the region. A wide collection of Irish painting and Irish sculpture can be seen in such fine art galleries as: (in County Cork) - the Crawford Art Gallery, the Lewis Glucksman Gallery at University College Cork (UCC), the Fenton and Lavit Galleries, the National Sculpture Factory, the West Cork Arts Centre, the Maclise Art Society and the Crawford College of Art and Design; (in County Limerick) - the Limerick City Gallery, the National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland housed at the University of Limerick, and the long established Limerick Art Society; (in Waterford), the distinguished Municipal Art Gallery; (in County Clare) - Bunratty Castle and nineteenth century Bunratty Folk Park. For ceramics, see: Kinsale Pottery & Arts Centre.

Crafts in Munster are funded through the Crafts Council of Ireland: a centre of excellence is the West Cork Craft & Design Guild.


Munster's Most Famous Visual Artists

Famous Irish artists born in or associated with Munster include:

Barrie Cooke, (Abstract Expressionist Painter);
Anne Madden, (Abstract Painter);
William Crozier, (Still Life and Landscape Artist);
John Kingerlee, (Contemporary Landscapes);
Dorothy Cross, (Internationally Acclaimed Sculptor);
George Mounsey Atkinson, (Marine Artist);
Robert Ballagh, (Fine Artist and Designer);
James Barry, (Neo-Classical Painter);
Richard Brydges Beechey, (Marine Painter);
Patrick Hennessy, (Still Life, Landscape, Trompe l'oeil Painter);
Daniel Maclise, (Portraitist, Historical Artist and Illustrator);
Pauline Bewick, (Contemporary Watercolours);
Hugh 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, (Contemporary Landscape Artist);
Rose Maynard Barton, (Townscape Painter);
Alice Maher, (Expressionist Painter and Sculptor);
Niccolo D'Ardia Caracciolo, (Landscape Artist and Portrait Painter);
Peter Curling, (Horse painter and Equestrian Artist);
Arthur K Maderson, (Contemporary Figurative Artist);
Thomas Roberts, (Landscapes).
See also Cork artists.

Munster's Most Famous Arts Festivals

Of the many Cork art festivals, the most renowned are the Cork Film Festival, the Cork Jazz Festival: for details, see Cork art news. In addition, check out the Waterford Arts Festival.

Art Education in Munster

See Art schools in Munster and Art at the Park.

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

Art Glossary
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