Last Sunday was a special day for Greenville (I will explain the name in a future blog): it was a special day for my ancestors; for myself; for my husband Seosamh and our three sons Don, Joss and Étienne Devine.
Last Sunday, I launched this blog and I welcomed – into a home that I hope people will associate with hospitality, warmth and good breads – individuals involved in the Arts locally and others working in the production of crafts like local beer.
The whole point of a blog like this is to inform readers (who might not otherwise be aware) of what is happening in the Arts in the midlands of Ireland, in Co. Tipperary (though not exclusively Tipperary).
It is also to promote artists and craftspeople who are furrowing, sometimes, a lonely road in trying to get their work and efforts recognised. We all know by now the importance of promoting local cheeses (think of Cashel Blue; think of Cooleeney, to name two obvious and now well-established brands). But if I talked about the art works of any of those whose pieces we have at Greenville, this would be a bigger challenge, to reach out to others and grab their attention.
Greenville: A Living Museum
I like to think of Greenville as a living museum that has captured and represents some of the stories from its almost 200-year-old history – but also brings the energy, vibrancy and colour of local arts into the mindset of guests, friends and family who visit.
I was so happy to show Cliona Maher Greenville. Cliona has returned from Lyon, France, where she lived for the past 12 years, to take up her new role as Manager of South Tipperary Arts Centre. She has over 20 years’ experience working in the Arts and we wish her the very best in her new and exciting role.
Cliona felt, on viewing the works at Greenville, that they are atypical in many respects, and she appreciated what she called the ‘non figurative’ nature of the collection, to explain the eclectic mix we have here.
She very kindly said Greenville was ‘a really inspiring place’. I was touched by that.
Guests at our Launch
I welcomed Cuilan Loughnane of White Gypsy Brewery in Templemore and Cuilan talked about his product and allowed us to taste his beers which are of a remarkably high quality. He uses home-grown hops in their production.
His story is inspirational and one that takes courage because he is competing with multinationals and those who flood the market with the brands we know all too well. More on this in a future blog.
I welcomed friends like Tom Doherty, whom I have worked in collaboration with for years now.
We met when I had my fashion boutique and café, The Business, in Nenagh. I will revisit events from The Business in future blog posts – the exhibitions I held there and the fashion shows and numerous talks connected to fashion and the Arts that I hosted.
The Business was a fashion boutique but, first and foremost, it was a place where local arts were celebrated. Kate Hennessey was one of the artists who exhibited at The Business and I was delighted she and her husband, Tom Muldowney, and other friends of ours from Limerick, Máirtin and Bertha O Brían, were able to make the event. Kate regularly exhibits her work and has had acclaimed exhibitions at the Source Arts Centre Thurles and the Hunt Museum Limerick in recent years.
I intend to do a blog about the achievements of Patricia Hurl and Therry Rudin, both artists and co- Directors of Damer House Gallery in Roscrea, where they have made such a huge impact in bringing life to a beautiful heritage building. They have been a tremendous source of support and encouragement to so many local artists like Ciarnad Ryan, Caroline Loughnane and many others.
Mary Dillon also attended last Sunday’s event. She recently won Gold and Silver medals at Bloom in the Park, Ireland’s top gardening festival – for her botanical and floral Art. Wonderful achievement and two years in a row.
Irene Robson came from South Tipperary for the event. Her wonderful mixed-media piece informs the design of one of the rooms at Greenville.
I was delighted Lynn Kirkham and Mike Collard from Greenmantle Arts attended. Lynn has been promoting the Arts locally since she came to the village of Killea to live. Her workshops have brought great joy and learning to local children and some of her sculptures can be seen throughout the country. She works with wicker but also with various metals in creating her unique pieces.
My niece, Martina Quinn, of Alice PR and Events in Dublin attended (and is helping me with this endeavour in her very generous and supportive way) and her partner, Raj Gosal. I love this photograph of her with her godson, our son, Étienne, who adores her.
My sister, Anna Hogan, and my own godmother, Fiona Maher, and her husband, Brendan O Neill, very kindly called to give their support. It was very much appreciated.
Thanks to Seosamh I also have works by some local artists who were unable to attend on the day – Mary Finn; Josephine Geaney; Siobhan Leonard; Philip Ryan and Alexandra Zolich. And I am still researching and looking for artists and craftspeople to promote.
Many themes touched upon here – my own journey and some of the people I have met in recent years since I moved back to Tipperary; the ancestry of Greenville, which is so important to myself, Seosamh and our children, seeing as it is my Great Great Great Grandfather’s home; the works of local artists and local craftspeople – all of whom I intend to write about and promote in the blogs to follow.
I hope in this mix there will be something for my readers to enjoy.