Coming Home: Art & The Great Hunger at Dublin Castle

Coming Home:-Art and the Great Hunger, is a poignant and striking exhibition of historical and contemporary art and sculpture relating to the Great Irish Famine which has just opened in Dublin Castle.

The works on show are part of the acclaimed art collection from the Great Hunger Museum in Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut which has generously agreed to give Irish people an over the coming months an opportunity to see work from this unique collection.

“Cottage: Achill Island”The exhibition is well worth a visit to see how some of Ireland’s foremost artists and sculptors reflected on Ireland before, during and after the Great Irish Famine. From the landscapes of Jack B Yeats, Alexander Williams and William Crozier, to the illustrations of James Mahoney, the  thought provoking  paintings of Michael Farrell and Lillian Lucy Davidson, and the haunting sculptures of Rowan Gillespie, John Coll,  John Behan and Margaret Lyster Chamberlain.

“The Leave-Taking”President Michael D Higgins opened the exhibition which was curated by Prof Niamh O’Sullivan.

This is a must see exhibition for anyone with an interest in art or history. I found myself both moved and provoked by the artist’s interpretation of the effect of Ireland’s Great Famine on our people. It is highly recommended for students, and older children. I will certainly return  to see it.

Coming Home: Art & The Great Hunger is on at:

The Coach House in Dublin Castle until 30th June 2018.

The Uililinn- West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen on 20 July – 13th October 2018

The Glassworks in Derry 18th January -16th March 2019.

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Bold Girls

What a perfect day to launch Bold Girls as across the world we celebrate International Women’s Day and the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage here in Ireland !

Bold Girls’ is the innovative new project by Children’s Books Ireland to celebrate and the representation of girls and women in children’s books, that have strong, intelligent female characters that appeal to all ages. The aim is to break down barriers and put girls front and centre

A ‘Bold Girls’ Reading Guide is part of the initiative and it includes a broad reading guide from picture books to teenage novels and also includes a  focus on twenty Irish female authors and illustrators of children’s books.  It was great to take part in a special ‘Bold Girls ‘school event  in Eason’s with authors and illustrators Sarah Crossan, Niamh Sharkey and Yasmeen Ismail  and the brilliant kids from St Mary’s School in Dorset Street with lots of stories and doodling  and face painting going on.

boldgirlsLater all the Bold Girls gathered in the amazing Long Room in the Old Library in Trinity College (The inspiration for the Hogwarts Library in the Harry Potter films) for the official launch of Bold Girls.

There is also a small selection of children’s books by Irish female author’s part of the ‘Story Spinners display in the library which marks women’s role in writing and illustrating children’s literature over the century.  The books are part of Trinity’s wonderful Pollard Children’s Literature Collection of over 10,000.00 books.

Dr Norah Patten, faculty member of the International Space University officially launched ‘Bold Girls

With so many female writers and children’s book lovers gathered together it was always going to be a fun night with lots of stories!!

Well done to Jenny Murray and all the team in CBI for organising it all and putting the Reading Guide and the  Bold Girls  initiative together.IMG_1642.JPG

The Big Interview

I was really pleased when  a class in  the Convent of Mercy National School got in touch with my publishers  to ask if I would agree to do a  big interview with their class as they  had all read my books and  had  a  mountain  of questions to ask me. Teacher Rachael Leinster helped to set it all up and I was absolutely delighted to take part in such a brilliantly organised interview.

lorts of question

There were all types of question for me about the books and my writing. A few of the girls had written diary entries from the point of view as a character during the famine and read them to me , believe me there is a lot of writing talent  in that that class.  I really enjoyed chatting to everyone and answering all their questions.  Well done to all the girls in the Mercy National School in Belturbet!school in belturbet cavan

The Irish PEN Dinner and Award 2018

The Irish PEN Dinner and Award 2018

Great to meet so many of my friends from Irish PEN at this year’s dinner and presentation of the Irish PEN Award at The Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

It is always a very special night to have so many writers gather to enjoy dinner and drinks and to honour a fellow writer in this beautiful old club.

This years’ very worthy winner of ‘The Irish PEN Award for Contribution to Literature’ is Anne Enright. As a  writer Anne  has achieved so much in terms of her work which includes , ‘The Green Road, The Portable Virgin’ and  her Man Booker award winning novel ’The Gathering’.  Anne has just finished up her term as the inaugural Laureate of Irish fiction.

The chairperson of Irish Pen Vanessa O’Loughlin presented Anne with the award.

June Considine of WORDS Ireland in her speech reminded all of us present of the imprisoned writers, an empty chair was positioned at the dinner to remember all of those, whose writing and words had led to their loss of freedom.

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