Previous Exhibitions

Unlegendary Heroes

Unlegendary Heroes

Geraldine O’Reilly & Mary O’Donnell

14 January - 5 March 2021

For the last two years the visual artist/printmaker Geraldine O’Reilly and poet Mary O’Donnell have collaborated on Unlegendary Heroes; a project where Geraldine selected ten of Mary’s poems and responded in a series of ten visual images in watercolour, which were then printed using silk screen.

The 10 poems deal with aspects of female life and experience, including one of O’Donnell’s most essential and defining poems Unlegendary Heroes, often cited and quoted from. This poem is included on The Poetry Foundation’s website and also appears in Windharp: Poems of Ireland since 1916, (Penguin Ireland, 2015) and was developed as a performance piece for the Irish Consulate in Boston’s Women’s Voices in Modern Irish Poetry in November 2020.

Other poems deal with the upbeat modern woman who sashays through a celebrating crowd (At the Wedding, A Stranger), an iconic crone figure who intercuts two other generations with her need for nourishment (Feeding the Crone), and on to the contemporary bitter poetic enactment of hair-cutting for economic survival in a subsistence culture (Twenty Inches of Hair). As well, one of Dublin’s great cafes is evoked as four generations of women are recalled (Meeting outside Bewleys) and in contrast to this, a group of walkers bear witness to a heron’s flight (Heron and the Women).

The artwork responding to the poems displays Geraldine O’Reilly’s acclaimed creative achievement in the manner in which her public has come to value: sensitive, powerful response to the experiences and moments which define the everyday, both in Ireland and globally.

The poems are taken from Mary O’Donnell’s highly-praised work in such collections as Unlegendary Heroes, Those April Fevers and her most recent volume, Massacre of the Birds.

The pages are presented in a limited edition (of 12) solander-boxed set of screen prints and poems, set by Mary Plunkett of Belgrave Press, in hand-made boxes created by award-winning book-binder Eilis Murphy of Folded Leaf, and printed at Graphic Studio Workshop, Dublin (Ireland’s oldest Fine Art print workshop). All the poems and illustrations are printed on 285gsm Fabriano Rosapina Bianca printing paper.

Artist Talk: Artist Geraldine O’Reilly and Poet Mary O’Donnell in Conversation with Muireann Ní Chonaill
Wednesday 9th February, 11am, FREE

To mark the current exhibition entitled 'Unlegendary Heroes' at Dunamaise Gallery, we are delighted to present this illustrated talk and poetry reading.Visits to the gallery (in smaller groups) will be followed by a relaxed and wide ranging conversation in the theatre, about the collaboration to create this body of work, their artistic practice and careers to date.

Open Submission 2021

Open Submission 2021

26 Nov 2021 – 4 Jan 2022


Selected by Sharon Murphy | Supported by Laois County Council Arts Office


We hope you enjoy the selection made by guest selector, Sharon Murphy, presenting work in a variety of media by artists from all over Ireland.

The exhibition is open to visitors during Dunamaise open hours*

A short Virtual Showcase is available to view in the event you cannot visit in person.



Download Exhibition Catalogue Here


Each year Dunamaise invites a Guest Selector to curate the Open Submission Group Show.

Guest Selector 2021: Sharon Murphy

Sharon Murphy is a visual artist and curator. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and her work is held in both public and private collections. Murphy has curated independently in public art and gallery contexts and is currently Curator-in-Residence at Draíocht, Dublin and College Curator for the RDS Visual Arts Graduate Awards. She holds a Diploma in the History of Art from Trinity College Dublin, a BA in Photography from Dún Laoghaire IADT and a Masters in Theatre from UCD.

Sharon says:

In selecting the exhibition I was struck by the authentic, distilled nature of the individual works and how collectively they seemed to offer themselves as signs and signals from a time of introspection and enforced solitude.  In selecting them and presenting them in a dialogue with each other I wished to be true to their distinctive voices while allowing for multiple quiet conversations between the images that slowly draw the viewer in. 

The fantastic prize of a month long Residency at Laois Arthouse, Stradbally is a rare opportunity to focus on creating new work in state of the art studio facilities and a supportive environment. Dunamaise Arts Centre gratefully acknowledges the support of Laois Arts Office, in awarding this prize to artist Eoin Butler.

Curator Sharon Murphy: “Excellence is the key criteria for selecting the award but also I have considered timeliness and benefit for the artist's practice and like commitment to a month in Arthouse, Stradbally, Laois. Butler's work stands out. It is painterly, distilled and resolved. His highly-textured, abstract paintings emerge from his engagement  and attunement with the natural world, expressing the character and felt experience of place. His paintings, while abstract, have an organic relationship to the landscape and is clearly influenced by its tones, colours, shapes and form. He has a particular preoccupation with bog, horizon line and sky and the bogs in the midlands have provided source material and inspiration for his current work. The paintings are in part abstract imbued with a ‘stillness’, and a reverence of place, an appropriate metaphor for an inner peace.

Butler describes his works as: a trek through time, place and at one with place. “The soul of my work inhabits a solitary place in the midland landscape of trees, bog and sky - my hinterland. A homeland much loved. The work is a bridge to the sanctity and spirit of self.” 


As well as exhibitions, each season we host artists’ talks, professional development workshops and art classes for all ages. Keep in touch through our e-newsletters, Facebook , Twitter or Instagram and visit for updates.


*Please sign it at the front desk and observe guidelines listed on signage

Bridget Flannery RIVERLINES


Bridget Flannery 'Riverlines'
27 September – 6 November, 2021

The Summer of river swimming and drawing

Summer 2021…months of sliding into rivers, feeling the silkiness of fresh water, tasting the earth in it, savouring the flavour and scent of distant bogs and the freshness of mountain streams, feeling the coldness of it. The swiftness of its flow, the scare of its drag and the wonder of its amber colour edged with bright green plants.
Summer 2021…months of drawing, mark making, scratching, sliding charcoal sticks along smooth, heavy paper; scraping these blocks of black pigment over rough surfaces, erasing, letting my arms make wide movements to make flowing marks, over and back, in and out of each other in tune to some inner rhythm, lines moving across the paper, dipping, crossing, touching, tipping, stopping abruptly, making shapes, paths and patterns.
Some days swimming and drawing blurred, echoing each other in movement, effort and rhythm.
Visitors to Dunamaise gallery are invited to immerse themselves amongst these stunning abstract landscapes and feel the soothing peace of water flowing.

School visits with the Artist will take place in early November on request. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Collective Thoughts

Laois Arthouse Collective

5 July – 28 August, 2021

An exhibition documenting each artist's individual perspective which has arisen from living through a global pandemic, painting a picture of the broader interconnected experience that we have been facing as a whole - our “collective thoughts".

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of Covid-adapted artist talks, workshops and demos, covering a variety of subjects. A catalogue will be published online to accompany the exhibition.

Exhibiting artists include: Aisling Brennan, Catherine Brennan, Rebecca Deegan, Jen Donnery, Aileen Donovan, Angelina Foster, Kate Knowles, Mary Slevin, Kevin McCann, Monica O’Meara, Mike Rafter. Curators: Rebecca Deegan & Catherine Brennan.

Laois Arthouse Collective are a group of creative painters, ceramicists and mixed media artists who came together in 2019, meeting monthly at Laois Arthouse in Stradbally to share their work, organise exhibitions and creative projects together, as well as offer each other support and encouragement. When the pandemic hit, the group continued to weave their web of support, meeting online and creating art alongside each other via Zoom and social media throughout the past year.



Funded by

The Arts Council


Dunamaise Arts Centre

Church Street Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland.

Contact The Dunamaise Arts Centre

Dunamaise Opening Hours:
Box Office: Tuesday to Saturday: 1-5pm
And 1 hour prior to events.  

Box Office: 057 866 3355

General Enquiries:

Our Sponsors

The Arts Council Laois County Council

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