Palm Skerrett – unique, determined and talented artist and teacher

An Appreciation

Palm Skerrett, the well-known artist and art teacher, passed away on November 19th, 2020, aged 84.

Born in Dublin on April 5th, 1936, she was drawn to the west of Ireland for holidays and for inspiration.

She also enjoyed overseas travel and wider perspectives. She often reminisced about her travels to exotic locations such as Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Paris, Amsterdam and Rome. She organised some of these trips herself, and for students and friends. Her tastes were universal, but her inspiration was rooted in Ireland. Her landscapes of the west of Ireland and her detailed drawings of local characters in Connemara are particularly accomplished.

It is not possible to think of Palm without thinking of dogs yapping around her feet. That is the image that abides: dogs at her feet and a cigarette in her hand. She loved being at home and enjoyed her garden.


She was an enthusiastic philatelist.

Early in her professional life Palm worked in shop display at Brown Thomas.

Having graduated from the National College of Art, Dublin, she taught in Ballinteer Community School, Maryfield College and Crumlin Technical School.

Additionally, she held classes at her studio in Dawson Street and later in South Frederick Street. Palm shared her Dawson Street studio with some other artists initially. It was a great venue for soirées and gatherings. She also held classes in her home in Dundrum. So it is fair to say that Palm imparted artistic appreciation on a wide scale. Many have remarked on her effective communication skills as well as her artistic insight. All her students would have left her classes knowing exactly where they stood on the artistic ladder. She was not a lady for gilding lilies unnecessarily but she encouraged all her pupils to develop their full potential.

Although such an accomplished teacher, her first love was painting, in the time-honoured manner of the freelance artist.

Perhaps her greatest inspiration was the great Maurice MacGonigal who was her mentor and with whom she enjoyed mutual respect.

Palm was a member of the Arts Club where she held many exhibitions of her work.

She was also a long-serving member of the Watercolour Society of Ireland with which she exhibited annually. Palm also exhibited regularly with the Royal Hibernian Academy.

Her work speaks for itself and is contained in many collections. These include private collections, the National Gallery of Ireland, and the collection of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through which they are displayed in many Irish Embassies. To commemorate the 1916 Rising, Palm produced a semi-abstract painting entitled Liberation, 1916.

Palm was a person of strong views, strong attachments and great enthusiasm. She was unique, determined and talented.

Many of her pupils became life-long friends. She was kind, generous and loyal. She never forgot friends’ birthdays, and entertained a group of them to dinner in a restaurant on her own birthday every year.

She died in St James’s Hospital, where she had been a patient for some time.

She will be sadly missed by her large circle of friends.