The currachs have moved to Galway

The currachs have moved to Galway

Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh with some of the artists at NUI Galway for the launch of ‘Curacha’. Photo by Ciaran Tierney.

The exhibition of 21 decorated currachs which captured the imagination of visitors to Inis Oirr all summer has journeyed to the NUI Galway campus to officially launch a new partnership between Áras Éanna arts centre and the University.

A total of 20 of the currachs will remain on display in the Quadrangle at NUI Galway until October 10, with the public invited to visit free of charge and without prior booking.

The 21st currach, by Oughterard-based artist Kathleen Furey, has gone on display inside Galway Cathedral.

In a neat piece of synchronicity, Kathleen’s homage to a stained glass window by Harry Clarke had been on display inside the church during the two month run of the exhibition to celebrate the 21st birthday of Áras Éanna.

Kathleen’s grandfather also put the marble floors in place at Galway Cathedral when it was being constructed in the 1960s.


The currachs’ new home at the Quadrangle. Photo by Ciaran Tierney.

The new partnership between NUI Galway and Áras Éanna will see the University and the arts centre on Inis Oírr work together to promote the islands and the West more generally as places of culture, learning and research.

A new fund has been established by the University to support staff and students who wish to travel to the island and use the facilities at Áras Éanna as part of their studies.

“I am delighted that 21 currachs have come to campus to launch the new partnership between the University and Áras Éanna,” said Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway.

“We respect the unique language, culture and environment that we share in the West of Ireland and we are open to collaborating with Áras Éanna and the Inis Oírr community to promote that distinctiveness as part of the life of our university.”

Jennifer Cunningham and Tim Acheson with their currach at NUI Galway. Photo by Ciaran Tierney.

The Artistic Director of Áras Éanna, Dara Mac Aoidh, said he was delighted that the wider community in Galway would get to see the successful exhibition which had delighted both islanders and visitors to Inis Oirr since mid-July.

“We welcome this new partnership between the University and Áras Éanna, and look forward to working on many collaborations and projects in the future that will benefit both the University and the island of Inis Oírr,” he said.

Áras Éanna is the most westerly arts centre in all of Europe, located on the beautiful Gaeltacht island of Inis Oirr, the smallest of the three Aran Islands.

The artists invited to take part were Dolores Lyne, Alannah Robins, Naoise Sheridan, Áine Philips, Sean O Flaithearta, Margot Quinn, Pat Quinn, Ger Sweeney, Mick O’Dea, Kathleen Furey, Jennifer Cunnigham and Tim Acheson, Dara McGee, Breda Burns, John Behan RHA, Sadia Shoaib, Daniel Coleman, Sean Cathal O Coileán, Tom Meskell, Jay Murphy, Cathal McGinely, and Deirdre McKenna.

Posters for the exhibition are on sale at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Middle Street, and the Old Seadog on Cross Street.

  • Words and photos by Ciaran Tierney.
John Behan RHA with his currach at NUI Galway. Photo by Ciaran Tierney.


Paying tribute to our glorious past:

(Profiles of some of the artists in the ‘Curacha’ exhibition)