Exhibitions

Scroll down this page to read about current and past exhibitions.
Plan your visit to see any of the current exhibitions by viewing location, transport, and facilities information here.

Derrinlough: A view from above

An exhibition of paintings by Michael Bulfin

21 June to 30 September 2017

Viewing landscapes from above – either from a plane or through Google Maps satellite imagery – has provided the inspiration for many of Mike Bulfin’s recent paintings. In this exhibition he turns to a far more personal landscape – the area around his old home at Derrinlough in County Offaly. Derrinlough was also the home of his father Eamonn, a former pupil of Patrick Pearse and a veteran of the 1916 Rising.

Derrinlough is an island of green farmland surrounded by a vast sea of bog and the wilderness of Lough Coura, an old drained lakebed which used to flood each winter. Growing up Michael knew every inch of the place and regularly traversed it with his two dogs. Industrial-scale harvesting of peat and turf has utterly transformed the landscape Michael knew as a youth. In his Derrinlough series of paintings he has mythologised and abstracted this land as it was 60 years ago. Taking a ‘birds-eye’ view, he uses vivid colours to emphasise the changes in vegetation and terrain.

 

1916: Portraits and Lives

An Exhibition by David Rooney

7 February to 31 May 2017

As part of the 1916 centenary commemorations, the Royal Irish Academy and the Office of Public Works published 1916: Portraits and Lives, a book of biographies of 42 people whose lives were in one way or another deeply involved in the Easter Rising. The artist David Rooney was commissioned to illustrate the book and created scraperboard portraits for each of the subjects. The exhibition consists of all of the original illustrations which were acquired by the Office of Public Works for the State Art Collection

 

Museum of August Destiny

Aideen Barry, Mark Clare, Amanda Coogan, Anthony Haughey, Dragana Jurisic, and Sarah Pierce

4 November 2016 to 25 January 2017

The Museum of August Destiny is an exhibition of contemporary art exploring the resonance of the Proclamation a century after it was written. It presents a small ‘capsule’ museum responding to the final line of the 1916 Proclamation, in which the Irish nation is exhorted to ‘prove itself worth of the august destiny to which it is called.’

 Curated by Dr. Emily Mark Fitzgerald (UCD), the artists were commissioned to create new works responding to the six ‘visions’ of Irish destiny set out in the Proclamation: (1) sovereignty and ‘unfettered control of Irish destinies’; (2) religious and civil liberty; (3) equal rights and opportunities for citizens; (4) the pursuit of happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts; (5) cherishing the children of the nation; and (6) oblivion of the differences ‘which have divided a minority from the majority in the past’.

The exhibition is sponsored by the UCD Decade of Centenaries Programme.

 

 

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Ceramics Ireland: Annual Members Selected Exhibition

4th – 18th December 2016

Ceramics Ireland’s Annual Members Selected Exhibition features the work of thirty-five artists selected from submissions by members of Ceramics Ireland. The exhibition takes place in the historic Halla Mór of the Pearse Museum. The work on display reflects many aspects of ceramic practice – functional, decorative and sculptural – and offers a wonderful insight into the diversity of ceramic work being produced in Ireland today.

Commemorating 1916 : An exhibition of work by students of the of the Higher National Diploma in Classical and Computer Animation at Ballyfermot College of Further Education

9 September to 7 October 2016

In autumn 2015 second year students studying animation at Ballyfermot College of Further Education spent several days on location at the Pearse Museum to research backgrounds and characters for a proposed animated film based on the 1916 Rising. This project formed part of their course module on Visual Communication. While the main body of work was carried out in the Museum, students also visited other locations relevant to the Rising, including Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin Castle and a former tenement building on Henrietta Street in Dublin city centre.

The students’ own historical research greatly influenced the style and content of their work. The have used both traditional and digital techniques to recreate historic spaces associated with the Rising and render them as they might have appeared in 1916. They have also tried to capture the very special atmosphere of places like the Pearse Museum which formed the backdrop to the momentous events of one hundred years ago.

Pearse and Shakespeare

25 April to 30 August 2016

The 1916 Rising was originally planned to take place on Easter Sunday, 23 April 1916, which was also the 300th anniversary of the death of the poet and dramatist, William Shakespeare. This fascinating historical coincidence was something which Patrick Pearse was undoubtedly aware of as he was a devoted admirer of Shakespeare’s writings all his life. Shakespeare was also a major influence on him as a writer and playwright.

The stories of Shakespeare first captured Pearse’s imagination as a child when he and his siblings would act out the plays in their family home. As he grew older Pearse developed his skills as a public speaker at literary and debating societies where he would sometimes recite speeches from Julius Caesar and Hamlet. Shakespeare’s writings also occupied a central place on the curriculum of Scoil Éanna. His love of Shakespeare is reflected in his library which contained numerous editions of Shakespeare’s plays, many of which are on display in this exhibition.

 

A Nation Rises: An exhibition of paintings by Carol Wallace

13 February – 3rd April 2016

This exhibition was inspired by the 1916 Rising and, in particular, the book Last Words by Piaras Mac Lochlann. Last Words is a collection of the last letters of the sixteen leaders who were executed after the 1916 Rising. Reading this book was a very emotional experience for the artist Carol Wallace. She was deeply moved by the stories of the last days and hours of these men and their bravery in the face of death.

The thirty-two paintings in this collection include portraits of those involved along with depictions of specific episodes and events from the Rising. They seek to convey the emotional aspect of this pivotal event in Irish history and, hopefully, lead the viewer to reflect upon the past. The collection stands as both a memorial to those who fought and a tribute to their sacrifice.

Ceramics Ireland: Annual Members Selected Exhibition

1 – 15th November 2015

Ceramics Ireland’s Annual Members Selected Exhibition features the work of thirty-five artists selected from submissions by members of Ceramics Ireland. The exhibition takes place in the historic Halla Mór of the Pearse Museum. The work on display reflects many aspects of ceramic practice – functional, decorative and sculptural – and offers a wonderful insight into the diversity of ceramic work being produced in Ireland today.

P.H. Pearse and the O’Donovan Rossa Funeral Oration

Until 5th January 2016

The OPW has marked the centenary of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral on August 1st with this exhibition at the Pearse Museum which commemorates both the funeral and Patrick Pearse’s now-iconic graveside oration. The exhibition features the original manuscript of Pearse’s eulogy, alongside rare news reel footage of the funeral. The exhibition also gathers together a collection of objects and documents related to the event, including original posters and handbills, and a signed copy of O’Donovan Rossa’s book, Irish Rebels in English Prisons.

The exhibition runs until January 5th, 2016, and admission is free. The museum is open seven days a week, from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

Ceramics Ireland: Annual Members Selected Exhibition

19th October – 29th November 2014

Ceramics Ireland’s Annual Members Selected Exhibition features the work of thirty-six artists selected from submissions by members of Ceramics Ireland. The work on display reflects many aspects of ceramic practice – functional, decorative and sculptural – and offers a wonderful insight into the diversity of ceramic work being produced in Ireland today.

The Palimpsest/ Rianú Project

6th September – 30th November 2014
Curated by Claire Halpin and Eoin Mac Lochlainn

The Palimpsest/ Rianú Project is a collaborative art project which brought together eight Irish artists to develop work to represent Ireland at Artisterium VI in Tbilisi, Georgia in October 2013. Continuing with this collaboration, the project was then presented in An Gailearaí in Gweedore, Co. Donegal in June 2014 and the final exhibition will be shown in the Pearse Museum in Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin in September 2014. The eight participating artists were: Colin Martin RHA, Brian Fay, Mary A.Fitzgerald, Claire Halpin, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Aoife McGarrigle, Kate Murphy and Nuala Ní Fhlathúin.

Each artist was invited to develop an initial image which was then emailed on to the next artist in the group. The second artist responded to it by working over it or manipulating it in some way and then emailed it on to the third artist who also responded to it and passed it on. The process continued until each of the eight artists had worked on each of the eight images. It proved to be a very creative and rewarding experience for the artists involved, each gaining a lot from encountering the varied working methods and creative processes of the other artists. The title “Palimpsest / Rianú” refers to the original palimpsests – ancient manuscript pages which were erased so that they could be reused and overwritten – and Rianú, the Irish word for tracing. There is a trace of each of the eight artist’s hand left in all of the final works.

The idea of the project was to explore how we deal with the ‘other’ in our lives – other ethnic groups, other nations, other people – so a collaborative project between artists seemed particularly relevant. The Pearse Museum at St Enda’s in Rathfarnham was chosen as an apt location for the final presentation because of Padraig Pearse’s special interest in bi-lingual education. Each artist also developed an individual artwork responding to the location and to the curatorial themes.

From A Hermitage to Harlem: Pearse in America, 1914

2nd March – 31st August 2014

On 8 February, 1914 Patrick Pearse left Ireland aboard the RMS Campania for a lecture and fundraising tour of the United States. St. Enda’s College had been losing money for many years and Pearse felt the tour offered ‘the only chance of placing the school on a sound financial footing’. He hoped his skills as a public speaker would convince the Irish-American community to donate money which could be used towards clearing some of the school’s substantial debts.

This exhibition traces Pearse’s travels around the Eastern states of the United States between February and May of 1914. Although he was primarily based in the home of the McKenna family on 144th St. in Harlem, Pearse also gave lectures in places such as Wilmington (Delaware), Philadelphia, Springfield (Massachusetts), Providence (Rhode Island) and La Rochelle in upstate New York. A fundraising Field Day in aid of the school which also marked the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf took place in the grounds of the Irish Athletic Club in Long Island on 19 April 1914. The exhibition contains the original programme from this event as well some fascinating letters written to and from Pearse while he was away. Also on display is a silhouette of Pearse’s profile which he had made when he visited the top of the Woolworth building, then the tallest building in the world.

While audiences were interested in St. Enda’s, they were often more anxious to hear about the recently formed Irish Volunteers. As one of the founders of this new Irish nationalist military organisation, Pearse also attracted the attention of Clan na Gael, an Irish-American organisation devoted to the establishment of an Irish republic. He made important contacts with prominent Irish Americans like John Devoy and Joseph McGarrity. Pearse was inspired by their militant republicanism and returned to Ireland firmly committed to pursuing a radical path to Irish independence.

Deich: The Life of P. H. Pearse in Ten Objects

11 July – 27 August 2013

The ten objects in this exhibition represent various aspects of the extraordinary life of Patrick Pearse. Although he died at the young age of 36, Pearse lived a life of great variety and achievement. He was a leading member of the Irish language movement, the editor of a newspaper, he wrote plays, poems and stories, was the founder and headmaster of Scoil Éanna and, most famously, led the 1916 Rising.

Some of items on display relate to important aspects of Pearse’s public career, such as his editorship of An Claidheamh Soluis and his famous speech at the funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. Others are more private and personal and reflect his imaginative childhood growing up over his father’s sculpture business in Great Brunswick (now Pearse) St., or the last hours he spent with his family before going to fight in the 1916 Rising. Together these ten objects give us an insight into Pearse’s complex and many-sided personality.

Click here to see the items that formed this exhibition.

You may also be interested in viewing items from the permanent collection.

View the Collection