Browse Farmleigh's Programme Below!
Daniel O’Neill: Romanticism and Friendships @ Farmleigh Gallery
Mar 13 @ 10.00am – Jun 6 @ 5.00pm
Daniel O’Neill: Romanticism and Friendships @ Farmleigh Gallery

The Office of Public Works (OPW)  present a retrospective of Daniel O’Neill’s work at the Farmleigh Gallery. The exhibition is being curated by art historian Karen Reihill with the majority of the works being borrowed from private collections, many unseen in public in over 50 years, as well as paintings from the collections of IMMA, University of Limerick and the Ulster Museum.

This exhibition will be Daniel O’Neill’s first retrospective since 1952 which was held at the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery (Ulster Museum) which then recorded a record attendance for the time. It is hoped that this exhibition will be an opportunity for the public to re-examine the life and work of this artist, who was highly regarded by the critics in the post war years and whose works were in popular demand until his death in 1974.

Born in Belfast, O’Neill had little orthodox training except for a few classes at the College of Art, Belfast. He started painting with watercolours at the age of fifteen and when possible spent all his spare time in the Belfast Reference Library studying the Italian renaissance painters. Working as an electrical engineer in the Belfast Corporation Transport Department, he worked on the night shift so he could paint during the day. This continued for over five years until he was taken up by the Dublin dealer, Victor Waddington, in 1945 where several one man shows followed. In 1948 he spent six months in France, mostly staying in Paris, where he was given the opportunity to study the painters he admired, such as Watteau, Rouault, Vlaminck, Utrillo and the Impressionists. During the late 1940’s/1950’s Daniel O’Neill was selected to participate in over twenty overseas exhibitions of Irish Art that toured Britian, Europe and the USA. Many of these exhibitions were sponsored by the Irish Department of External Affairs and they were intended to showcase the very best of Irish art abroad.

O’Neill moved to London in 1958 to start a new life. His paintings were then mainly sent to The Waddington Galleries in Montreal where he gained a new International market. His work was also shown at The Dawson Gallery in Dublin up until 1963 where it continued to be in demand but after that date his work was not seen in Dublin for another eight years which caused his work, and name, to fade in to the background. Throughout this period O’Neill struggled with personal problems. However an opportunity arose on a visit home when he was persuaded to return to Belfast and hold an exhibition there which opened in 1970. After an eighteen year absence from exhibiting in his native city critics expressed surprise at the new bright strong colours which was a move away from the sombre romantic style they had last seen in the 1950’s. Following this successful exhibition in Belfast, he held his last solo exhibition in Dublin in 1971 at the Dawson gallery and his future looked promising. Unfortunately due to a combination of events in Belfast his health deteriorated and he died tragically in March 1974 at the early age of 54.

This exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive catalogue detailing the life of Daniel O’Neill and that of his other innovative friends that make up the Belfast Boys, Gerard Dillon and George Campbell among others. It is hoped this publication along with the exhibition will lead to a reassessment of Daniel O’Neill’s place in the history of Irish art by a new audience and generation of critics, students and enthusiasts.

Gallery Opening Hours:
Tues – Sun (& Bank Holiday Mondays)
10am – 1pm
2pm – 5pm
Admission is free.

Feis Ceoil – 125th Anniversary Concert @ Farmleigh House
May 28 @ 7.30pm – 10.00pm
Feis Ceoil - 125th Anniversary Concert @ Farmleigh House

Featuring an array of gifted winners from this year’s Feis Ceoil, this concert celebrates the 125th anniversary of the organisation’s first competition, which was held in 1897.

The 2022 Feis Ceoil, which is Ireland’s largest classical music competition, and which is supported by the Royal Dublin Society (RDS), ran from Monday 28th March to Friday 8th April. Having been forced online for the past two years, due to the performance restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s festival featured a mixture of live solo, duo and small ensemble competitions, with only the choir and orchestra competitions still being held online.

The Farmleigh concert will feature a cross-section of winners from Feis 2022 and promises to provide a special opportunity for classical music lovers to see and hear a number of extraordinary young performers at the very beginning of what promises to be a life-long musical career commitment for many of them.

Doors, 7.30pm, performance starts at 8pm.

Tickets: €12 (including booking fee)

Further details regarding the 2022 Feis Ceoil competition can be found here:

Photograph: The Troup Sisters – Christina (French horn), Elizabeth (cello) and Marguerite (trumpet) – all previous winners at the Feis Ceoil, play in the grounds of Farmleigh House (Credit: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall)

*(To avoid long waits for taxis after the event, we recommend booking a taxi in advance if required.)

The Irish Butterfly – an illustrated talk by Jesmond Harding @ Farmleigh House
Jun 11 @ 3.00pm – 4.00pm

Jesmond Harding is author of “Discovering Irish Butterflies & their Habitats” published in 2008 and ‘The Irish Butterfly Book’ published in December 2021. He has had articles reproduced in various periodicals including the Irish Naturalists’ Journal, Peatland News (Irish Peatland Conservation Council), Wings (BirdWatch Ireland) and the online nature magazine Wildlife Extra. He featured in the third series of “Living the Wildlife” (episode 2) and “The Burren: Heart of Stone” (episode 1).

Harding was part of the expert group that drew up the red list for Irish butterflies in 2010. He is a member of the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Burrenbeo Trust, and a founding member of Butterfly Conservation Ireland. He gives talks on butterflies and advises on habitat creation and management and is currently involved with several Lepidoptera recording programmes.

He is a member of the co-ordination committee for the Butterfly Atlas Project 2017-2021, promotes the establishment of a new national park in Kildare and East Offaly, and works with the Burrenbeo Conservation Volunteers to manage limestone habitats. Jesmond manages Butterfly Conservation Ireland’s reserve in County Kildare and Butterfly Conservation Ireland’s website.

This talk will be of importance to anyone with an interest in the richness of Ireland’s flora, fauna and its diverse ecosystems and the threats to their survival from climate change and habitat depletion. From it audiences can also learn how to develop butterfly-friendly strategies that will will help protect these magnificent creatures for future generations to enjoy.

3pm; Tickets €6 (including booking fee)

Photographs: 1, Brimstone, male, Lullybeg. 2, Jesmond Harding.

Yellow, male brimstone butterfly on purple flower    Photo of Jesmond Harding

The Dublin Trio featuring Kevin Conneff (bodhrán & vocals), Joe McKenna (Uilleann pipes & whistles) & Tony Byrne (guitars) @ Farmleigh House
Jun 25 @ 7.30pm – 10.00pm
The Dublin Trio featuring Kevin Conneff (bodhrán & vocals), Joe McKenna (Uilleann pipes & whistles) & Tony Byrne (guitars) @ Farmleigh House

This concert futures three of the greats of Irish traditional music performance.

Kevin Conneff (bodhrán, vocals)

Kevin Conneff is probably best known as the bodhrán player and vocalist with The Chieftains and has been with the band since 1976. A Dubliner, he comes from the Donore part of the Liberties and first became interested in traditional Irish music in the 1960s, when he and some workmates hitched to fleadhanna ceoil all over Ireland, sleeping in hay barns and eating tins of Denny’s stew!

In Dublin, he frequented O’Donoghue’s, The Pipers Club, The Clareman’s Association and the weekly session in Church Street. For many years, he and friends ran the prestigious Tradition Club in Slattery’s of Capel Street, where singers and musicians from all over Ireland and the U.K. performed. These included Willie Clancy, Séamus Ennis, Joe Heaney, Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and Anne Briggs. In 1973 and 1974, Kevin and the Tradition Club ran fundraising concerts in Liberty Hall to help launch the Willie Clancy Summer School.

Apart from touring and recording with The Chieftains, he has performed with Mary Bergin, Tim Edey, Redmond O’Toole, and, from Nashville, Jeff White, Laura Cash and Deanie Richardson. He has done singing and bodhrán workshops in the U.S.A, Europe and Japan. Although he wouldn’t regard himself as a songwriter, he has penned a number of ditties.

Joe McKenna (uilleann pipes, whistles)

Joe McKenna is from the Liberties in Dublin. He studied the pipes in the famous Pipers’ Club in Thomas Street where he learned from and was influenced by the great Leo Rowesome, as well as being influenced by Patsy Toughy, Johnny Doran and Willie Clancy. Over the years he absorbed and extended the art of piping, creating his own individual style and technique, and also designed and made he own pipes. He is now one of Ireland’s most respected pipers and an accomplished low whistle and button box player. He composes tunes and songs and, the odd time, sings a few.

After winning a few All Ireland titles, his professional career began in the early 1970s when he played with the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. This was followed by an international touring schedule throughout America, Canada, Europe and Australia.

Joe was most known early on as one half of the harp and pipe duo, playing with his now deceased wife Antoinette Mc Kenna. They recorded their first LP in the early days of Shanachie Records and later were joined by Antoinette’s sister, Mary Bergin, then being part of other groups, such as Slua Nua, De Dannan, and the Anne Wylie Band in Germany. His recordings are well known and his interest in composition led to him receiving IMRO’s ‘ New Irish Music Composer of the Year Award’ in 1993. This was followed by being closely involved in pioneering projects in schools and community care aided by the Arts Council and Music Network.

Another side to Joe is his involvement in managing the Shanachie Records label in Ireland for ten years, beginning in 1996, multi-tasking as concert promoter and coordinating and assisting touring artists and promoting their new releases. Today he continues his workshops and performing, including with the group Mountain House.

Finally, from the creative piping stand point, and in many other ways, he would say that his piping was most influenced by the unique backing style on the harp of his wife Antoinette, being a harp and piping duo for over forty years.

Tony Byrne (guitars)

Tony Byrne, Dublin guitarist, has been involved in music from a young age. Starting out playing in rock bands as a drummer at age 11, Tony began performing around Dublin city centre venues at age 12. Following family holidays in West Kerry, Tony developed an interest in Irish traditional music and has been involved in the performance, recording and teaching of it since leaving college in 1999

Past performances include concerts with acts such as Danú, Sharon Shannon, Michael Mc Goldrick, Gerry O’Connor, David Munnelly Band, Matt Molloy, Paul Brady, Julie Fowlis, Lúnasa and many more. Tony has also performed with artists of different genres, such as legendary guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, Jerry Douglas and banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, as well as classical violinist Nicola Benedetti and Indian Tabla Master Zakir Hussainm, with whom he performed at Carnegie Hall, New York, and recorded a live CD in San Francisco.

Television credits include The Late Late Show, Geantraí, Later… with Jools Holland, BBC Alba and many more.

Tony also works with the Galway Arts Festival and has been a cast member of award winning Irish play “Trad”, which has toured extensively, including to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Perth International Festival in Australia. He is also a guitar teacher in Ballyfermot Senior College, Dublin, a position held for the past seven years. Other teaching experience includes guitar instruction in the USA and throughout Europe at various festivals and workshops.

Photograph: Kevin Conneff (bodhrán & vocals), Joe McKenna (Uilleann pipes & whistles) & Tony Byrne (guitars)

Doors 7.30pm. Performance at 8pm. Tickets €17 (including booking fee)

*(To avoid long waits for taxis after the event, we recommend booking a taxi in advance if required.)

Kathleen Soriano “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – 35 Years in the International Art World.” @ Farmleigh House
Jul 9 @ 3.00pm – 4.00pm
Kathleen Soriano “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly - 35 Years in the International Art World.” @ Farmleigh House

Most widely know as a presenter and judge on Sky Arts’ ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’ and ‘Landscape Artist of The Year’ series, Kathleen Soriano has had a long and illustrious career in the world of fine art. Having been the Director of Exhibitions & Collections at the National Portrait Gallery, London (1989 – 2006), Director of Compton Verney Art Gallery (2006 – 2009), and Artistic Director at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2009 – 2014) where she was responsible for exhibitions such as Bronze, David Hockney, Anselm Kiefer, Australia, Manet, Van Gogh, Moroni, Oceania.

In 2014 she established her own curatorial, artistic advisory and strategic consultancy company. As well as working closely with, and advising museums and galleries she is a Senior Associate with the international cultural consultancy AEA (Adrian Ellis Associates) with whom she has most recently been working on the redevelopment of the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Her book Madam and Eve, on women artists, was published in April 2018.

She is currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Liverpool Biennial and is a trustee of Art UK, a member of the Visual Arts Committee of St Paul’s Cathedral, an advisor at London exhibition venue Two Temple Place and is a faculty member of Oxford University Cultural Leadership Programme.

Join Kathleen for a fascinating talk about her 35-year career in the international art world, involving encounters with both angel and demon artists, the championing of the lesser-known, her passion for truth and beauty, as well as the value of art. Alongside such tales, she will consider the joys and idiosyncrasies of some of the major arts organisations that she has worked with, as well as her experiences of some of their leaders.

Revealing the secrets of a successful independent working life after 30 years of institutional working, Kathleen will also delve into her experiences, since 2013 to the present day, as a judge on the ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’ and ‘Landscape Artist of The Year’ series for Sky Arts.

Photograph: Kathleen Soriano by David Emery

Doors open at 2.30pm; Talk commences at 3pm. Tickets: €12 (including booking fee)