Visual Arts in Roscommon
Cultural History, Castlestrange Stone, Famous Artists (like Roderic O'Conor) and Art Museums.

County Roscommon, 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 Roscommon

Located in central Ireland east of Mayo and Galway in the province of Connacht, County Roscommon has a population of 53,774, and its county town is Athone. The name Roscommon stems from Ros Comáin, the name given to woods next to St. Coman's fifth century monastery.

Early Visual Art

County Roscommon's earliest artifact from the history of Irish art is the egg-shaped Castlestrange Stone. This example of pagan sculpture was carved during the late Iron Age in the final century or so before the birth of Christ, and is similar to the more famous Turoe Stone in County Galway. Like the latter, the Castlestrange Stone is decorated in the La Tène Celtic art style, which itself was influenced by Greek and Etruscan culture. Roscommon is also the location of the discovery of the Tully Lough Cross, as well as the possible county of manufacture of the famous Cross of Cong, the finest processional cross ever found in Western Europe.

Breton Girl, by Roscommon artist
Roderic O'Conor. One of the most
iconic images in Irish art.

Reflections, West of Ireland, by
Roscommon artist Percy French.

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

Famous Artists

Celebrated Irish artists born in County Roscommon include the internationally acclaimed Impressionist/Expressionist Roderic O'Conor (Landscape and Interiors), as well as Percy (William) French, (Watercolourist, Musician and Illustrator) and Patrick Ireland, born Brian O'Doherty, (Sculptor, Conceptual and Installation Artist).

Roscommon Arts Centre

This Centre is County Roscommon's only purpose-built art venue. Situated in Roscommon Town, the Arts Centre encompasses a 194-seat performance area along with exhibition and workshop spaces. It stages a multi disciplinary arts program throughout the year, including visual art shows with fine art painting, sculpture along with more modern art forms. For example, a recent show entitled "Skywatcher" featured Martin Healy, a video and installation artist. The Arts Centre is now developing a new program of arts based workshops, to enhance its current art calendar. They are seeking to establish a permanent panel of artists working in all art media who can provide arts workshops in the county. Extensive workshop facilitation training will be given to all panel members, upon completion of which only panel members will be recommended by Roscommon Arts Office to other groups and educational institutions within the county.


Cruachan Aí Visitor Centre

County Roscommon has established a new award-winning Interpretative and Heritage Centre in the medieval village of Tulsk. The Cruachan Aí Visitor Centre aims to present and explain the outstanding Stone Age and Iron Age archaeological remains uncovered nearby, including one of the best surviving Celtic Royal Sites in Western Europe.

Clonalis House Museum

Castlerea in the west of County Roscommon is the ancestral seat of the Clan Ó Conchúir Dun, a connection which endures to this day through the Clonalis House and Museum, situated on the edge of Castlerea. The Museum contains one exhibit of special significance to the culture of Roscommon - the Ó Conchúir Dun inauguration stone.

Other arts venues include: King House, Boyle (Una Bhan Tourism Co-operative), the annual venue for the Boyle Christmas Crafts Fair (071-9663033); Purple Onion Fine Art Gallery, Tarmonbarry (043-59919); and Mantua Project Gallery, Ballaghadereen.

Arts Education

The Roscommon Arts Office already runs numerous workshop programs for young people, featuring an Artists-in-School Scheme, Youth Theatre, Youth Orchestra, together with several activities in all arts disciplines.

• 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 fine arts venues in Ireland, see: Irish Art Galleries.

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