The Arts

In association with Sligo Today

Gary Reddin has launched a new Christmas cards series, aptly titled ‘The Christmas Surfer’. The Christmas Surfer – from Sligo based illustrator Gary Reddin

Added: 21/11/14 : 10:06:32

Inspired by a life of surf and adventure, Gary Reddin has launched a new Christmas cards series, aptly titled ‘The Christmas Surfer’.

Artist, Illustrator, and surfer, Reddin works from his seaside studio in Culleenamore, County Sligo, on the Northwest coast of Ireland.

Depicting twenty-four hours in the life and adventures of a Northwest surfer at Christmas time, Gary’s new series is available in a pack of six, as well as poster format.  

In the last twelve months, Gary returned home to live and work in Sligo on the Northwest coast of Ireland following a successful career in architecture working in Copenhagen and London.

From powerful waves to rugged hilltops, landscapes and seacapes, Irish playwrights, poets and contemporary pop culture, Gary draws inspiration from a dynamic and eclectic range of sources.  

After graduating from the Dublin School of Architecture in 2010, Gary began his career as an architect in Copenhagen. While working here a colleague spotted Gary sketching late at night in the office, and encouraged him to sell his work online. Within a few days he had earned enough to make rent for the month. Unaware of the potential of a professional career in illustration at the time, the allure of fulfilling personal work and creative freedom meant a career change was certainly worth considering.

Twelve months later and the studio of Gary Reddin Ink is a busy place: he now works with an exciting range of clients providing branding, commissions and illustrations.

A sense of place and Gary's connection to his home on the west coast of Ireland are important factors in his work: time spent surfing and exploring Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way hugely influence the style and themes of his illustrations. When not at his desk working, he can usually be found surfing world class waves at Strandhill in County Sligo.                                           

Gary’s illustrations can be found online at, in Shells Cafe in Strandhill and in selected design and lifestyle shops around the country.

Follow the adventures of Gary and The Christmas Surfer online at the following links:

Tweets @garyreddin
Sligo-based artist Nick Miller shortlisted for Hennessy Portrait Prize 2014 Sligo Artist shortlisted for Hennessy Portrait Prize 2014

Added: 30/09/14 : 13:15:10

Hennessy and the National Gallery of Ireland today announced the 12 finalists chosen for the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2014. The 12 finalists were selected by an esteemed panel of judges, comprising Cristín Leach Hughes (The Sunday Times), Dr Declan Long (NCAD), Janet McLean (NGI), and Donald Teskey RHA, and chaired by the Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, Sean Rainbird, from more than 400 entries from artists living in Ireland and Irish artists abroad.

The short-listed artists for the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2014 include a Sligo-based artist Nick Miller from London, but who currently resides in Rosses Point, Co Sligo.

Nick was chosen for his piece Last Sitting, 2013, oil on linen. Nick addresses portraiture, nature and human encounters through painting, drawing and film and has exhibited both in Ireland and internationally.

He said, “The portrait is of the painter Barrie Cooke, who died earlier this year. He lived for the last 25 years of his life in Highwood, Co Sligo overlooking Lough Arrow where he had fished for many decades. We were good friend’s colleagues and for 16 of those years I was a very close neighbor in Kilmactranny.

"I painted him on a number of occasions, the first back in 1997. That painting is held in the Niland Collection in The Model, Sligo which also houses a number of Cooke’s works. This last portrait was made in my Drumcliffe studio on his very last day in Sligo before leaving to be close to his daughter in Co Kilkenny as his health deteriorated.”

Cooke was a highly respected, influential artist, a member of Aosdána and a close friend of poets Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.

The short-listed artists’ works will be exhibited in the National Gallery of Ireland from 8 November 2014 until 8 February 2015. On Tuesday, 11 November, one artist will be announced as the winner of the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2014 and will receive a prize of €15,000. The winning artist will also be awarded a commission worth €5,000 to produce a portrait for inclusion in the National Portrait Collection.

Commenting on the finalists, Caroline Sleiman, Market Development Manager for Moët Hennessy said: “Hennessy has always been a dedicated supporter of cultural events in Ireland and the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2014 is testament to our ongoing commitment to acknowledging and celebrating Irish artistic talent. We were delighted that so many Irish artists, both living here and abroad, chose to send work to be considered for this prize while passionately committing to their chosen media. We are encouraged to see such a variety of distinctive and contemporary portraiture in this, the inaugural competition, and look forward to celebrating such skill and creativity in modern portraiture for many years to come.”

Adding to this, Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland said: “The National Gallery of Ireland houses a national collection of portraiture, a collection initiated under Henry Doyle in the 1880s. This partnership with Hennessy is the first time the Gallery has approached the task of adding to this part of the collection through a competitive process. While all the works of art are unique and difficult to compare, it has been extremely invigorating to look at over 400 entries submitted for this inaugural prize, and to see the jury weigh up the contrasting qualities of so many distinctive portraits in different media with such passionate commitment and attention to detail.”

'Vibrant Mixture'

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Dr Declan Long added: “As judges we have been very pleased to be able to present such a tremendously diverse shortlist. There are paintings, photographs and videos addressing a vibrant mixture of subjects, in a great range of styles, created by both established artists and artists at the very beginning of their career. As such, we hope that this selection gives a strong sense of the many and varied possibilities for portraiture today.”

The Hennessy Portrait Prize was launched in March 2014. Open to artists in all disciplines, , the competition’s aim is to showcase and encourage interest in contemporary portraiture, and to raise the profile of the long-standing and constantly evolving National Portrait Collection at the National Gallery of Ireland.

For further information on Hennessy, please visit or log onto the Hennessy Cognac Ireland Facebook page

The wonderfully talented James De Vita IN ACTING SHAKESPEARE for Hawk’s Well

Added: 10/10/14 : 09:54:56

‘In Acting Shakespeare’ is a superbly engaging one-man show on tour in Ireland this October following a two-month sold out run off-Broadway in New York City. It comes to the Hawk’s Well Theatre on Thursday 23rd of October at 8pm.

“In Acting Shakespeare” is a funny, touching and uplifting story of one man’s discovery of Shakespeare, acting and language. Freely adapted, with permission, from Sir Ian McKellen’s ‘Acting Shakespeare’, the wonderfully talented James De Vita tells his own story of a young fisherman searching for a new career. This fun, fervent tribute to one man’s personal journey, deftly weaves some of Shakespeare’s most famous monologues with James’ days as Long Island fisherman and his nights as a classical actor. This is a show for anyone interested in Shakespeare or theatre and is presented by Pemberley Productions & The Lime Three Theatre.

‘In Acting Shakespeare’ will tour Ireland from October 8th – 24th opening in Limerick before touring to Ennis, Kilkenny, Cork, Blanchardstown, Dun Laoghaire, Waterford, Galway, Portlaoise, Roscommon, Sligo and Thurles. Full details and ticket information at

“A good one-man show leaves the audience wanting more, which is exactly what happens.”   -The Huffington Post

“Splendid…hysterically funny… Imaginatively written and performed with zest and honesty by the endearing, handsome DeVita” – Backstage

Tickets are €18/16conc and €15 for Friends of the theatre. These are on sale now from the Box Office on 071 916 1518 or



A native of Long Island, NY, James is an author, actor and company member at American Players Theatre and lives in Wisconsin. He has toured the United States with "In Acting Shakespeare” culminating in a two month off-Broadway run at the Pearl Theatre on 42nd Street. A recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Fiction, Jim has had two novels published, The Silenced and Blue (HarperCollins), and is also a widely published playwright, writing for both adults and young audiences.


October 8th & 9th. Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick.
October 10th. Glór, Ennis    
October 11th. Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny      
October 13th & 14th. Everyman Palace, Cork 
October 15th. Draiocht Arts Centre, Blanchardstown
October 16th. Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire
October 17th & 18th. Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford
October 20th. Town Hall Theatre, Galway
October 21st. Dunamaise, Portlaoise
October 22nd. Roscommon Arts Centre, Roscommon
October 23rd. Hawkswell Theatre, Sligo
October 24th. The Source, Thurles


Newport ready for ‘Lights, Camera, Action’!

Added: 22/09/14 : 07:34:01

Everyone loves a touch of glamour, and the people of Newport in County Mayo are no exception.  On 26th to 27th September they will host the second Grace Kelly Film Festival in the town.  Grace Kelly, the iconic 1950’s movie star, visited the West Mayo town many times throughout the 1960’s and 1970s, reconnecting with the hometown of her grandfather, and even buying the old ancestral house and land.

“After her visit in 1976, she bought the old thatched house in Drimurla, just outside Newport” according to one of the Film Festival organisers, Fiona Hopkins.  “Tragically, she died before her plans for the land came to fruition.  But Newport people remember her very fondly and many recall how, as children, they would follow her from her hotel as she went for her daily walks, often ending up in the local hairdressers to keep her immaculate hair looking its best.”

“We really wanted to find a way to honour that connection, that bond – a film festival seemed the natural choice.  Just like the inaugural festival in 2012, the whole town will be transformed – shop windows decorated with original old photos and film paraphernalia, and the local school will become a Hollywood wonderland fit for any Princess!”

Anything new for the 2014 festival?  “Oh yes! This year, as well as screening three of Grace Kelly’s most iconic films,  we have sourced some unique footage of one of Grace’s early visits to Mayo, never seen before, and we have also organised a lovely boat trip around Clew Bay, taking in the island of Iniscuttle, ancestral island home of the Kelly family.  This really is a lovely weekend of activities, the atmosphere will be wonderful, and we hope visitors and locals alike will enjoy it.”

For a full programme of events and tickets, visit or drop in to Newport’s Tourist Information Office