Visual Arts in Kildare
Cultural History, Celtic High Cross Sculpture, Famous Artists and Art Galleries.

County Kildare, Leinster Province
Republic of Ireland.

Note: For an introduction to Celtic
and the ancient artifacts of
the Celts, see: Celtic Art. For facts
about the two earliest styles, which
influenced so many Irish artists
during the golden age of the early
Christian era in Ireland, see:
Hallstatt (c.800-450 BCE) and
La Tene (c.450-50 BCE).

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

Visual Arts in County Kildare

Situated south-west of Dublin, County Kildare (Cill Dara) in the province of Leinster is home to the National University of Ireland Maynooth, St Patrick's College Maynooth, and the National Stud. County kildare has a population of 163,944; its county town is Naas, while Kildare is the oldest town. Leixlip contains the huge Intel computer complex.

Early Visual Arts

Kildare is home to three examples of prehistoric and medieval artifacts produced during the early history of Irish art. First, the Mullaghmast Stone - a pagan Irish sculpture carved in the late Iron Age in the Celtic La Tène style - which is similar to the more famous Turoe Stone in County Galway. Second, early Christian monasteries in County Kildare, like those in other monastic settlements such as Clonmacnois and Kells, produced a number of illuminated religious manuscripts, dating from 500 CE. This Insular art (Hiberno-Saxon style) was a fusion of Celtic illustration and Anglo-Saxon metalwork decoration, and was responsible for some of the finest Irish art of the Medieval era. Thirdly, Castledermot, Moone, and Old Kilcullen in Co Kildare are sites of Celtic High Cross sculpture - one of the great contributions to Western European public sculpture - featuring scenes from both the Old and New Testament as well as Celtic geometric designs.


Famous Artists

Renowned Co Kildare painters include: Elizabeth Cope, (Still Life, Interior, Nude and Landscape Artist); Simon O'Donnell, (Surrealist and Political Artist); Lydia Shackleton, (Horticultural and Botanical Artist).

Art Centres and Venues

The Riverbank Arts Centre, situated in Kildare County Council's Cultural Campus at Newbridge, offers a range of library, heritage and arts facilities to improve the cultural life of the community. It represents an outstanding venue for exhibitions of fine art, (painting, sculpture, printmaking) installation and public art, as well as displays of ceramics and crafts. It has already exhibited numerous works from Kildare County Council’s municipal art collection, which includes paintings, sculpture and stained glass from some important Irish artists, like: Robert Ballagh, Martin Gale, Norah McGuinness, Evie Hone, Patrick Pye, Patrick Collins, Charlie Brady, and Sean McSweeney. The permanent site for the Kildare municipal art collection will be at the Lantern Municipal Gallery, on the Aras Chill Dara campus, Naas.


Arts Program and Festival

Kildare's arts program encompasses a film development program, an arts-in-libraries program and a visual arts program. The latter unites the numerous local visual arts collectives throughout the county in the provision of an exciting exhibitions calendar of traditional and contemporary art.

Art Galleries

As well as the Riverbank arts centre and council-run art venues in the county, Kildare boasts a number of other art galleries, including: Anna Liffey Art, Leixlip (01-624-4631); Farragh House Art Gallery, Bunbrosna (044-71446); Gallery Art Centre Cellbridge (01-627-6206); Gallery Ireland, Cellbridge (01-627-5480); Kilcock Art Gallery Kilcock (01-628-7619); Lake Gallery, Poulaphouca (045-864217); Simply Art The Contemporary Art & Design Shop, Athgarvan (045-441063); Tuckmill Gallery, Naas (045-879761).

• For more about Irish culture, see: Ireland Visual Arts.
• For more about the historical heritage of the province of Leinster, see: Homepage.
• For a list of the top living painters in Ireland, see: Best Irish Artists/Painters.
• For details of art gallery venues in Ireland, see: Irish Art Galleries.

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