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Ennistymon: Vanishing Heritage

Main Gallery

AUG 16 - SEP 12

The exhibition will be launched on August 16th at 8pm with an official opening reception by Ennistymon native Eddie Stack.

Toll House 2Toll House Ennistymon

“Ennistymon: Vanishing Heritage” is a photographic exhibition presented by The Old Ennistymon Society celebrating the rich architectural, economic and social heritage of Ennistymon. The photographs date from the early part of the last century and capture a long forgotten age. The exhibition will give a fascinating insight into now disappeared buildings, daily activities of the inhabitants, and long forgotten businesses and crafts - indeed everything that contributed to the rich tapestry of life in a north Clare market town.

The Old Ennistymon Society presents this exhibition to commemorate its 21st anniversary. The society is the voluntary organisation responsible for the preservation of Ennistymon Courthouse and developing it into the stunning arts complex “The Courthouse Studios and Gallery”. It is now a centre of excellence promoting both arts and culture in the North Clare area.

vanishing heritage ennistymon 2

The society was founded in 1992 by a sub-committee of the North Clare Historical Society to which individuals prominent in cultural and community organisations in Ennistymon were invited. A new body “The Old Ennistymon Society” was founded with Michael Comber as its chairman, and its mission statement is “Preserving the Past for the Future”. The society bought out the ground rent from the Macnamara/Devas estate by organising a big local fundraising campaign consisting of weekly draws and producing a parish magazine. When the building was secured the initial aim of the new society was to develop the courthouse as museum and local history centre but following a feasibility study this idea was deemed inviable.

The society then decided the courthouse would be suitable as studio space for visual artists. The building was offered to an artist’s co-operative on a 5 year lease for a nominal rent. In 2001 when the lease was approaching its end the Society sought and received funding from the Department of Arts Access Programme with co-funding from Clare County Council to conserve and renovate the Courthouse as five visual artist’s studios, exhibition galleries and a recording studio. The society engaged John O’Reilly as architect for the project and today’s arts complex is a testament to the tenacity and vision of the founding members of the Old Ennistymon Society, a totally voluntary body which now manages the courthouse arts centre.

The exhibition will be launched on August 16th at 8pm in the Courthouse Gallery with an official opening reception by Ennistymon native Eddie Stack, author and lecturer, to which everyone with an interest in Ennistymon is cordially invited. The exhibition will run from August 16th to September 12th from 12 – 5 Tuesday to Saturday. On Wednesday August 21st at 8pm in the Courthouse Gallery there will be a heritage discussion illustrated by the film “I Was Happy Here”, depicting many of the streets and buildings portrayed in the exhibition. On Thursday morning August 22nd at 11.30 there will be a town walk led by Frank Davis, Frances Madigan and John O’Loughlin.

This is a must see exhibition for everyone with an interest in how life was lived in Ennistymon, a North Clare market town in the early to mid-20th century.

We would like to thank everyone who donated photographs to the exhibition especially Clare County Libraries.


'Of Stones and Flowers'

Pen & Ink Illustrations & Watercolours by Hilary Gilmore

AUG 16 - SEP 12 

Official opening Friday 16th August at 8 pm 

Hilary GilmoreHilary Gilmore4 lillies

Hilary Gilmore (A.N.C.A.D./ATC) is probably best known both nationally and internationally, for her annual pen and ink illustrations which feature in 'The Other Clare' (Journal of the Shannon Archaeological and Historical Society) and also her watercolour paintings, mainly of Botanical subjects inspired by her own extensive garden and the nearby Burren landscape and flora. Hilary’s working environment is the great outdoors where she gets inspiration for all of her work, particularly in the carvings left by countless unnamed craftsmen, in historical buildings and graveyards throughout the county.

Hilary lives and works in Co Clare since moving from her native Galway in 1974.

She is an active member of the recently formed Irish Society of Botanical Artists and her work is to be found in various private and public collections as far apart as Nagoya (Japan) and the White House (Washington)

Her current exhibition features original illustrations celebrating the extraordinary work of long dead masons and sculptors which have featured on the cover of the 'Other Clare', together with a selection of some of her favourite botanical studies from her garden and further afield.