Meet the ‘Curacha’ artists

Meet the ‘Curacha’ artists

Dolores Lyne with her currach. Photograph by Rynes Walker.

Their works have transformed our island.

From now until September 12, you can follow the trail around Inis Oirr and discover the amazing works by 21 Irish artists for the ‘Curacha’ exhibition which celebrates 21 years of Áras Éanna.

Seven of the pieces, including a stunning sculpture by John Behan, are inside the theatre at Áras Éanna and can be viewed from Tuesday to Sunday (11am to 4pm).

Four more are in the courtyard outside.

And visitors to the island’s church are in for a special treat in the form of Kathleen Furey’s detailed tribute to a stained glass window by Harry Clarke.

The rest are dotted at strategic locations all around the island, including the wonderful piece by Inis Oirr resident Pat Quinn beside the wreck of the Plassey.

Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to feature the 21 artists who were commissioned to take part in this magical exhibition.

Today we begin with the first seven from our programme. As if you ever needed an excuse to come and visit Inis Oirr!


Dolores Lyne moved to Galway from Kerry after graduating in fine art from Waterford. Her work reflects a huge interest in the ritual rural landscape of the West of Ireland and its offshore islands. Her work is featured in several public collections, including exhibitions hosted by Galway City and County Councils, Tipperary County Council, the Arts Council of Ireland, the Office of Public Works (OPW), Bank of Ireland, the Irish Writers’ Centre, and NUI Galway.

Dolores is also an award-winning theatre designer, having won an Irish Times/ ESB award for best design in 1999. She is also a founder member of the AKIN collective of artists.

The currach by Alannah Robins which is on display in the Aras Eanna courtyard. Photograph by Cormac Coyne.


The founder and director of Interface, a studio and residency programme on the west coast, Alannah Robins has an interdisciplinary artistic practice based between Ireland and Sweden. She regularly participates in and curates both solo and collaborative projects in both countries. A graduate of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Robins has won several commissions and awards for her work.

Alannah has exhibited, among other places, at the RHA, Dublin; London’s Dialogue Cultural Space; Pasaj Independent Arts Space, Istanbul; Galleria Lapinlahti, Helsinki and in Sweden’s Tegen2, Detroit Stockholm, Galleri CC and Kiruna Stadshus. Her interdisciplinary work allows Alannah to investigate man’s relationship to nature. She has collaborated with both classical and experimental musicians, in Sweden, the United States, and Ireland.


An Irish artist based between Galway and Wicklow, Naoise Sheridan focuses her practice primarily on human-kind’s forgotten place on the earth as creatures of nature, producing large-scale botanical paintings, installations, and murals or street art featuring naturalistic creatures of the nude female figure.

Naoise’s work has been exhibited in multiple shows around Ireland, and in 2020 she won the inaugural DPSC Open Submission Award. She organized and curated an exhibition for the graduating contemporary art students at the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) late last year. Naoise also creates installations for Irish music festivals such as Electric Picnic and has launched the Bleached Jungles project, a community-inclusive mural project aiming to reintroduce elements of nature into urbanized spaces. Sheridan has just completed her final year of pursuing a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Art at GMIT in Galway.

The striking piece by Áine Phillips at Áras Éanna. Photograph by Cormac Coyne.


A visual artist, writer and academic based in Clare, Áine Phillips is head of sculpture at the Burren College of Art. She has been exhibiting, presenting and screening multi-media performance works, sculptural installation, and video in Ireland and internationally since the late 1980s.

Áine’s work is socially engaged and she has also created art projects for multiple contexts; public art commissions, diverse community contexts, street and club events. Her work is part of the Arts Council and the National Museum of Ireland collections. She engages with feminist philosophy and politics, using her art to comment and make propositions on subjectivity, gender and social change.


The first artist in residence to spend time at Áras Éanna, Seán O Flaithearta is a native of the Aran Islands and has a studio in Cill Éinne. He graduated in art from the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Dublin and spent periods studying in Belgium and the USA. His work has been exhibited in Ireland and abroad.Sean represented Ireland at the Lorient Interceltic Festival in Brittany in 2009 and won the Ciall visual art competition (The Gallery, Donegal) in 2011.

His designs have been used by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, An Taibhdhearc, the Abbey Theatre, and Galway 2020. He is interested in many aspects of the creative world, working with drama companies and on interdisciplinary shows, publications, art exhibitions, community art and art installations. His work, dealing with social and political issues, asks us to dig beneath the surface of the landscape to find the hidden world of storytelling and interpretation.


Longford native Margot Quinn works from her own studio in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, known as Josie’s Art Studio and Workshop, which is open to the public three days per week for exhibitions, print workshops, and mixed media art events. Margot studied fine art as a mature student at The Cass School of Art, London Metropolitan University, and was awarded a BA (Hons) degree in fine art in 1995.

She has had 11 solo exhibitions, and has exhibited in many group shows both in Ireland and England including Iontas, Sligo Art Gallery, Model Arts Centre Sligo, Ampersand City Arts Centre Dublin, Small works Elmwood Gallery Belfast, Banquet Exhibition RHA Dublin, Art Aid London, and Brent Artists Registry London. Awards include an Iontas Sculpture Award in 2001, Owen Rowley Student Award in 1995, Monaghan Artist in Residence 2002.


A native of Co Longford, Pat Quinn has been living and working on Inis Oirr for more than 20 years. He’s a well-known singer-songwriter whose quirky, satirical, and sometimes political songs have delighted islanders and visitors alike over the past two decades. Among those who have covered his songs is the legendary Christy Moore.

Despite having many years of experience in graphic design, Pat only recently began to investigate the joys of painting during the recent lockdown when the island was particularly quiet. He took a break from singing about Angelina Jolie and life on the Aran Islands to paint regularly here on Inis Oirr, with some surprising results.

An curachh a rinne cónaitheoir an oileáin Pat Quinn ar an láithreán gar do raic an Plassey. Grianghraf le Cormac Coyne.