Arts at the heart

Posted on: 10th December, 2018

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

Above: Caoimhe Kilfeather, Model drawing for the exhibition Elemental at Uillinn

Since moving to its new home in the centre of Skibbereen at the beginning of 2015, Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre has attracted an average of 30,000 people through its doors annually, to explore exhibitions, engage with artists, experience art events and performances of all kinds, and enjoy a world class facility that places people’s interaction with the arts at its heart.

This year, the ‘Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger’ exhibition surpassed all expectations to become the most popular and most visited event in Skibbereen in living memory, attracting over 31,000 people from all over Ireland and beyond and placing Skibbereen on the map as a must visit cultural destination.

Cork County Council and the Skibbereen Flood Relief Works team pulled out all the stops to ensure that the work at Uillinn was completed just in time for the opening of this important exhibition on July 19 and in so doing, created an impressive setting for the building within its location at the junction of the Caol Stream and the Ilen River.

The impact of the ‘Coming Home’ exhibition on the town and surrounding areas has been witnessed by the business community and retailers, restaurants, accommodation providers and local festivals all acknowledge the Coming Home effect. Skibbereen Heritage Centre also recorded record numbers, extending their season to accommodate demand.

All ages were catered for – from bespoke gallery tours and resources, to practical workshops for schools, West Cork Arts Centre continued its mission to provide a multiplicity of ways for engaging with artists and artworks throughout.

The ‘Coming Home’ exhibition was followed (until December 11) by ‘The Sound of Ravens’, an exhibition of drawing and sculpture by local artist Wendy Dison and ‘Affinities: Two Generations of Painting’ by father and daughter Diarmuid O’Ceallacháin and Noël O´Callaghan, originally from Drimoleague.

The year ends with the Uillinn Christmas Fair on December 15 and 16 with a range of art, craft, design and seasonal gifts. The ever-popular, ‘Your Man’s Puppets’ is back again with a variety show on Sunday, December 16 at 2pm – booking now.

2019 will see a range of classes and workshops for adults and children in visual art, dance and drama begin a new term, and the screening of the award-winning ‘Two Days, One Night’ at 8pm on Thursday, January 10, as part of the First Fortnight Festival (Mental Health and Arts and Culture).

The first exhibition of the year is ‘Elemental’ (12 January to 2 March). This exciting project includes an exhibition by Caoimhe Kilfeather and Karl Burke, a collaboration by Siobhán McGibbon and local primary school children; and ‘The Make Space’ – a creative response room for children by artist and primary school teacher, Anne Bradley. Here children are the primary audience, and interactivity, tactility and spacial enquiry are key qualities. It opens with a ‘gallery picnic’ at 2pm on Saturday, January 12 and everybody is welcome to come along.

Uillinn will be closed from 4pm on Tuesday, December 19 to 10am on Monday, January 7. Contact 02822090 or


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