The cartoonists are back

The cartoonists are back

The Galway Cartoon Festival came to Inis Oirr for the first time ever in October of last year.

The Galway Cartoon Festival is returning to Inis Oirr for the second year in a row with two exhibitions in the Áras Éanna gallery and some live drawing this week.

This five year old festival travelled overseas for the first time in 2020 and the cartoonists had such good fun on Inis Oirr that they vowed to return to Áras Éanna again this year.

Artists including Aongus Collins, Tom Matthews, Caoimhe Laelle, Dean Patterson, Donal Casey, Graeme Keys and Sean Begley will have cartoons on display in our gallery for the second ‘Tarraing É I nGaeilge’ exhibition.

They will be joined by Inis Oirr residents Dara McGee, Artistic Director of Áras Éanna, and Pat Quinn.

A second exhibition revisits the story of Augustus John, a Welsh artist who visited Galway in 1915 and produced a large mural based on the inhabitants of the city at the time.

With the permission of the Tate Museum in London, the Galway Cartoon Festival has reproduced John’s large mural in our gallery.

A cartoon by Aongus Collins from this year’s festival.

Festival organisers have also persuaded Galway-connected artists to produce cartoons depicting more modern iconic characters in Galway.

“It was lovely to bring the festival out here to Inis Oirr. It was a great addition to the festival to be able to bring it out here,” says Margaret Nolan of the Galway Cartoon Festival.

“It was really nice for us to be able to show Irish language cartoons here on a Gaeltacht island.

“We are really delighted to be able to reproduce Augustus John’s massive mural of the Galway of his time, with images from all around the docks, the musicians, and the local people. But in a modern twist, we also asked people to submit what they think are images of iconic Galway at this time.”


A cartoon by Inis Oirr resident Pat Quinn.

Nolan admits that she had never been to Inis Oirr before the festival came out to the island in October of last year. She has just completed a two week residency with Áras Éanna.

“I only came out to Inis Oirr for the first time last year to hang the exhibition. I just fell in love with the place. It’s just so perfect. I love the colours and the light here,” she says.

“I think the island is a very inspirational place for an artist, so we are delighted to be back here again this year!”

  • Words by Ciaran Tierney Digital Storyteller


  • The Galway Cartoon Festival is open at Aras Eanna from October 1 to 9 (11am to 4pm daily). The official launch takes place in our gallery on Tuesday at 5.30pm for those who are on the island.
One of the best-known cartoonists in Ireland, Tom Matthews, will join us at Aras Eanna again this year. He has just completed a two week artist’s residency with us here on the island.