Visual Arts in Leitrim
Cultural History, Sculpture Centre, Famous Painters and Art Venues.

County Leitrim, Connacht Province,
Republic of Ireland.

Note: For the history of Celtic culture
and examples of ancient metalwork
created by the first Celts, see:
Celtic Art. For a guide to the earliest
styles, which influenced so many
Irish draughtsmen and metalworkers
during the renaissance of the early
Christian era, see: Hallstatt (800-450)
and La Tene (c.450-50 BCE).

Visual Arts in County Leitrim

Situated east of Sligo, County Leitrim (Liatroim) is one of the counties in the west of Ireland and is part of the province Connacht. It has a population of 25,799 (the lowest population in the Republic) and its county town is Carrick-on-Shannon. The name Leitrim stems from the "Liath Druim": Irish for "grey ridge." Leitrim has the highest proportion of inhabitants over the age of 75, of any county in Ireland.

Visual Art Development

Although not noted for any significant artistic activity during the earlier eras in the history of Irish art, County Leitrim has always had a strong tradition in performing arts like drama, music, choral works, as well as literature. Recently, however, the county's improved arts infrastructure for the training, practice and performance of the arts, together with the adoption of the marque "Visual Leitrim" to identify works by Leitrim-based painters, printmakers, sculptors and mixed media artists, has lent support to visual arts in particular. Indeed, the county is now the home of a growing number of Irish artists, designers and craftspeople.

A Street in Brittany (Stanhope Forbes).
One of the great plein air painters in
Irish art.

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

Leitrim Sculpture Centre

Special mention should be made of this fine arts centre, located in Manorhamilton. Initiated by the Manorhamilton Arts Group, who had long been keen to establish a centre for Irish sculpture, the project's founding members included several local full time artists of national and international repute sculpting in bronze, stone and wood. Funding was provided by the Arts Council, FAS, Leitrim Partnership Board, Leitrim County Enterprise and the Program for Peace and Reconciliation. The centre now offers a high quality facility for artists using traditional sculpture techniques, with a specific focus on stone carving and bronze casting. It includes significant studio space as well as a bronze foundry.

Other Visual Art Venues

There are three main Arts Centres in County Leitrim: The Dock, the new arts venue accomodated in the refurbished Courthouse in Carrick-on-Shannon; the Glens Centre in Manorhamilton, and the Corn Mill Theatre in Carrigallen. The two latter venues are theatres incorporating smaller art centres.

The Old Courthouse Arts Centre, Carrick-on-Shannon

Known as "the Dock", this new arts facility is Leitrim's first integrated centre for the arts and culture. Completed in 2005, it encompasses a 117-seat performance space (Black Box), three art galleries - featuring paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures and installations - together with artists studios, workshops and an arts education space. The centre runs an exciting program of visual and performing arts - showcasing high quality contemporary international and Irish art - plus an active series of community workshops and art classes, as well as an artist support scheme involving commissions of new artworks. Located in the centre, is the Leitrim Design House, a retail art gallery which presents works from a wide selection of local painters, designers and craftspeople.

Dock Artists

Exhibitions at the arts centre have included architecture, portraits, landscapes and contemporary abstract works, by artists like: Nick Miller, Melanie O Rourke, Helen O'Leary, Mark Garry and Catherina Ahearne. Initial artists in residence at the Dock were: Linda Shevlin, (known for her contemporary landscapes); the contemporary artists Padraig Cunningham and Laura Gallagher; and John Albert Duignenan, the semi abstract painter and draughtsman.

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

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