International film star Brendan Gleeson to open Boyle Arts Festival

This year’s Boyle Arts Festival and Visual Art Exhibition will be officially opened by Academy Award nominated actor Brendan Gleeson in King House on Thursday, July 20th, at 8 pm.

Brendan, who has a keen interest in visual art, Irish music and folklore, has played leading roles in films like ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’, ‘Calvary’ and ‘In Bruges’. He is a frequent visitor to the area. The committee is delighted that he has accepted an invitation to officially open BAF 2023. This year’s Visual Art exhibition has been selected by leading Irish artist Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, who brings a new energy and approach to the Festival.

The theme ‘Connections’ will be manifested through a pride in place and landscape, ideas, diverse artistic approaches and by linking newer generations of emerging artists with more established senior artists.

The exhibition will feature close to 100 works from artists across Ireland. Largely focused on painting, the exhibition includes sculptural works by Eileen McDonagh, Cathy Carman, Kate Oram and Martin Lyttle. The excitement and energy of the exhibition also focuses on painting by leading lights such as Mick O’Dea, Gwen O’Dowd, Alice Maher, Julie Merriman, Mark Garry and Dr Abigail O’Brien, PRHA, who will show works with some of Ireland’s top emerging talents in such as Eve O’Callaghan, Sian Costello, Stephine Deady, David Smith and Eleanor McCaughey.

The exhibition will highlight some of the wonderful talents based in the region and artists of international standing such as Ciara O’Toole, Andy Parsons, Naomi Draper, Tinka Bechert and Vanya Lambrecht Ward.

During the Festival, there will be opportunities to take part in guided tours of the exhibition with the curator and artist Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, curators Anna Spearman, Sarah Searson and Laura Mahon along with curator and producer Linda Shevlin. This exhibition is open to the public until August 7th.

The Festival’s visual arts strand also includes the Boyle Open Exhibition, solo exhibitions, group shows and an Art Trail taking in shop windows and venues across the town. It also incorporates the Boyle Sculpture Trail in the Pleasure Grounds, with works commissioned by Roscommon County Council.

The hugely popular Open Exhibition provides a forum for artists who would otherwise find few opportunities to display their work and attracts entrants from all over Ireland. Come and see this year’s stunning collection from 10 am to 5 pm every day during the Festival, in the former Royal Hotel building on Bridge Street.

Here in Boyle, we have the finest collection of contemporary Irish art which spans over thirty years of the Festival’s life. It is because of both the vision and determination of the late Fergus Ahern that the Boyle Arts Festival, as well as the Civic Collection of Art, endures so well today. In grateful recognition of this, the annual Fergus Ahern award for merit will be awarded to an artist with work in the Main Exhibition. This year’s winner will be announced at the opening. Please note that entrance to all exhibitions is free.