The best artworks to see in Ireland’s reopened galleries
Feast your eyes on the classic works, or check out some completely new visual art
Double Portrait, 1985-86, by Lucien Freud. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh/IMMA
As Ireland’s museums and galleries reopen, here’s a look at what’s on the walls. Some galleries are operating timed entries and ticketing systems, so please check websites for visiting details.
Limerick City Gallery of Art
Opening with a selection of works from the very first exhibition of Limerick’s permanent collection, which took place in 1937, LCGA offers a lovely stroll down art’s memory lane, including works by John Lavery and William Leech. Lavery’s work, Stars in the Sunlight, shows a relaxed Maureen O’Hara with Loretta Young, enjoying the kind of summer we’re all currently hoping to have.
Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick. Open now. gallery.limerick.ie
Step into other worlds at the Chester Beatty as the museum and library reopens with a photographic exhibition, Siam through the Ages, and Arts of the Book, exploring gorgeous manuscripts. Discover these and more, including The Ruzbihan Qur’an, from mid-16th century Shiraz.
Chester Beatty, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2. Open now. chesterbeatty.ie
The Hugh Lane
Hard to choose a favourite from the bounty in store at the Hugh Lane. Yes, there’s the Francis Bacon studio, but my first port of call is always the small darkened room, alive with Harry Clarke’s jewel-like stained glass windows, such as The Eve of Saint Agnes. And that’s before you get to the Impressionist collection, including Édouard Manet’s La Musique aux Tuileries, where social distancing clearly was far from the minds of the assembled crowd.
Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, Parnell Square, Dublin 1. Open now. hughlane.ie
Sligo’s Model Arts Centre includes the Niland Galleries, which have a wonderful collection of works by Jack Yeats – quite right too, when you remember Yeats spent his childhood in Sligo town. The gallery reopens with an exhibition dedicated to one of the region’s most famous sons, including Mountain Window, dating from 1946. Alongside this, The Sea Around Us, on hold since March, reopens too – sure you could as easily hold back the tide as keep art at bay.
The Model, The Mall, Sligo. Opens July 23rd. themodel.ie
Lucid Abnormalities seems a fitting description of what we’ve been living through lately, and it’s also the title of the Crawford Gallery’s reopening exhibition of works from the collection, which includes this wry take on interior and exterior lives by Suzanna Chan, The Cabinet of Exotica, from 1993. While you’re there, take in the de-figged Canova Casts, and you have all the makings of a great art day out.
Crawford Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork. Open now. crawfordartgallery.ie
National Gallery of Ireland
Like the entire country, the National Gallery is having a phased reopening, with different areas of the vast complex opening from now until July 20th, when you should be able to see everything, everywhere. Voted Ireland’s favourite painting, Frederic William Burton’s Meeting on the Turret Stairs will be on view from July 20th. Because it’s a delicate watercolour, it has always only ever been on view at restricted times, which of course adds to the romance.
National Gallery of Ireland, Clare Street, Dublin 2. Open now. nationalgallery.ie
Irish Museum of Modern Art
Imma’s Freud Project has been on hold, along with the rest of the Museum’s activities, but they’re reopening with a splash including an exhibition of the archives, the Freud galleries (including Double Portrait), and a new outdoor area on the lawns with pop up events and workshops. Add garden trails, outdoor art and a pop up café, The Flying Dog, and you’ll have plenty to whet your appetite. Bharti Kher’s exhibition, A Consummate Joy, opens from July 21st.
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8. Open now. imma.ie
In Limerick, the Hunt Museum has wonderfully eclectic collections, with a resumption of their Best Costume Goes To... exhibition, including costumes from films such as The Favourite, The Quiet Man, Braveheart, In Bruges and more. Many, however, will go to rediscover old favourites, such as Roderic O’Conor’s timeless Breton Woman, who looks as if she’d have no problem meditating her way through lockdown.
Hunt Museum, Rutland Street, Limerick. Open now. huntmuseum.com
Carrick-on-Shannon’s The Dock has always had a lively buzz and, while closed, they’ve been doing great things online. But come July 16th, you can go get up close and personal to some brushstrokes again, with an exhibition of paintings by Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, who has a great talent for making the everyday strange, and vice versa.
The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim. Opens July 16th. thedock.ie
A selection from Mick O’Dea’s series of paintings from the War of Independence brings history to life on the walls of The Source Arts Centre in Thurles. Including some works not previously shown, the exhibition runs until July 22nd.
The Source, Cathedral Street, Thurles, Co Tipperary. Open now. thesourceartscentre.ie
The Royal Hibernian Academy is reopening, initially, for two long weekends, from July 23rd-26th, and July 30th-August 2nd. Visiting slots are ticketed, so check out the website for details, but it’s a welcome chance to see the shows that Covid put on pause, including Neil Carroll’s In Pursuit of the Brocken Spectre, and Alan Phelan’s Folly and Diction, which rediscovers a long lost photographic process and sheds some light on Samuel Beckett along the way. The RHA Annual is now set to take place in October.
Royal Hibernian Academy, Ely Place, Dublin 2. Opens July 23rd. rhagallery.ie
Roscommon Arts Centre
Margo McNulty’s show, Duality, is a collaboration with writer Shauna Gilligan, and both are fascinated by the stories that wrap around, and soak into the land. Find prints, paintings and an artist’s book from an exhibition that has lain quietly, waiting for the world to open up again. Until July 31th, with Mark Garry’s An Lucht Siúil (The Walking People) opening on August 8th.
Roscommon Arts Centre, Circular Road, Roscommon. Open now. roscommonartscentre.ie
In west Cork, Uillinn’s reopening exhibitions include a drawing show from artists based in the region, and a wider showcase of works by members and friends, including Johanna Connor’s Emanate. Wait a little longer, and Justin Grounds Isolation 20 is a sound and polyphonic voice installation involving 20 singers from across Co Cork, responding to the pandemic. That’s scheduled to kick off when the gallery reopens, but there’s (polyphonic) whispers of a potential delay, so check website for details.
Uillinn, Skibbereen, Co Cork. Opens July 20th. westcorkartscentre.com
Galway City Museum
Access will initially be limited to the ground floor when the Galway City Museum reopens on July 21st, but the opening shows look fascinating. Monument explores the astonishing stone forts that ring some of Europe’s smallest islands, and The Corrib: Myth, Legend and Folklore includes such gems as Sadie Cramer’s Red Fox, and lots more to get away with the fairies in the company of.
Galway City Museum, Spanish Parade, Galway. Opens July 21st. galwaycitymuseum.ie
Around Dublin . . .
Many of Dublin’s private gallery spaces have already been open by appointment, and are now opening up further. Check out Tom Climent’s show at Solomon (solomonfineart.ie) until July 25th. Kerlin host Richard Gorman’s paintings for his Dalkey exhibition (kerlin.ie) until August 15th. Olivier Cornet has an intriguing group show, The Morphing Feminine (oliviercornetgallery.com) until July 20th, and Gemma Browne’s Queen of the Dusk is at Kevin Kavanagh from July 9th to August 1st (kevinkavanagh.ie).