I am just back from a trip to Kerry to the famous Listowel Writer’s Festival. It is one of Ireland’s most popular arts festivals and it is held in the home town of the renowned writer, playwright and raconteur John B Keane, with the Keane Family still involved.
The sun was shining and The Listowel Arm’s Hotel was packed to the gills for the busy opening night celebrations and awards ceremony with writer Edna O’Brien receiving a life time achievement award for her work, and Paul Lynch winning the Kerry Group Fiction book of the year award for his novel ‘Grace’.
This year’s Children’s Programme had a sea theme inspired by the art work of Steve McCarthy, and Listowel Park and Community Centre were transformed by the work of local artists groups.
I talked to a big group of local schools and later that day took part in a very interesting ‘Bold Girls’ event chatting with authors Sarah Webb and Sheena Wilkinson about the women and girls in history and books and all around us that inspire and encourage us to be bold , brave and strong…
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.
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.
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.