Art exhibitions among the highlights of Vintage Week & Arts Festival


In recent years, art exhibitions have become a major feature of Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival and 2022 will be no different with a series of excellent exhibitions presented in the city.

Details of these exhibits are presented below.


Since February 24, the eyes of the whole world have been on Ukraine, which was brutally attacked by Russia on that date. The UN Refugee Agency reported in early May that more than 6 million Ukrainian citizens have already fled their homeland to other countries, trying to escape war.

The history of the world is the history of migrations; and it is a phenomenon that increasingly affects each of us, in almost every corner of the Earth. People migrate for many reasons, some in search of peace and security, and others to earn more money and live a better life.

Often individuals and families are forced to relocate due to political and economic pressures and instability, and unfortunately, as we see more often these days, a deteriorating climate.

Others simply go on the road because they seek themselves and their place on this earth.

Migration is also not a uniquely human phenomenon, as it can be found in nature in the plant and animal kingdoms. Some birds can travel up to ten thousand kilometers in a year, and a single dandelion seed will be carried by the wind for several kilometers! All in the service of survival, exploration and a better life.

The subject of migration is as vast as it is interesting, and it affects every living being; it certainly encourages timely inquiry and reflection.

Twin exhibitions in Ireland and Poland will bring together collage artists from different countries and cultures, asking them to approach and reflect on the theme of “migration” through their artistic practice. The works will be presented during the 54th Vintage Week and Arts Festival (Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival) in Birr, Ireland, from July 29 to August 7, 2022, and simultaneously at the Praga Cultural Center in Praga-Północ in Warsaw. Both exhibits will be outdoors, as we want as many people as possible to see them.

Collage is a process of fragmentation and recombination, pieces are separated from their original images, finding their way from different places to create something new and beautiful. In this way, collage is both an appropriate technique and an accurate metaphor for the experience of migration.

When we think in this way, we realize that through migration processes, our countries and our communities themselves are constantly changing. Collages of experiences.

If we dare to look deep enough, we realize that we are each a Collage of experiences. For those of us who live with migrants and those of us who have migrated – either geographically or in our imagination. We face new problems and new challenges. We learn, we grow, we ask questions. “What does it mean to be at home? “What does it mean to be a foreigner?” “, “What does the word “homeland” mean? “.

Random elements appear in our lives from which we construct meanings. Like in a collage. And from there, there is only one step towards migration that each of us takes after all. Migrate within ourselves. This is a one-of-a-kind, most personal journey.

The curator of the exhibition is Marta Janik. The exhibition is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland, Creative Ireland Program and Offaly County Council.
As part of this project, we have invited an artist from Ukraine (Yuliia Fareniuk) to come to Birr for the duration of the festival, and who will lead workshops with the townspeople, joining the townspeople and sharing the experience of creating a wall collage with them somewhere in the city environment.


The courtyard of the courthouse

Yuliia Farenyuk aka xлоя is a young artist from Ukraine and is part of the Kyiv Collage Collective and will work alongside other visiting collage artists to help create the interactive art wall that will grow throughout the week. Come in and add your voice through workshops and drop-in sessions led by Yuliia and the other guest artists. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, she has found refuge in Ireland where she is currently based with her family.


The courtyard of the courthouse

A series of colorful flags based on elements from the Macregol Gospels combined with images representing different aspects of the city identified by the people of Birr and translated by Naomi Mooney McArdle.


The courtyard of the courthouse

London-based Italian artist Cristina Ottonello, in collaboration with young people from the Ashbrook, Chesterfield Close and McAuley estates in Birr, have created an art installation that explores and showcases local plants and their usefulness. Participants, during a period of creative research, discovered the extraordinary characteristics of local plants and how these plants have and can inspire innovation and creativity, such as Sundew Drosera rotundifolia and Bladderwort Utricularia vulgaris.

Botanical features/components that have biomimetic and adaptive characteristics are creatively reproduced/reinterpreted through crafting processes, and include reusable and repurposed materials. These specific features will be enlarged to scale to explore the unique textures, shapes and elements of their botanical structure. The resulting installation will not be exact botanical replicas of the original plants.

This is a Birr Theater & Arts Center project supported by the Creative Ireland program in partnership with Offaly Local Development Company, curated by Ann Lawlor.

JJ Kinhan: World Record Cycling Legend

The courtyard of the courthouse

A Clareen National School Cruinniú na nÓg project featuring Yvonne Claffey celebrating world record cycling JJ Kinahan. Download the Artivive app to see artwork come to life.

Birr Art Group

St. Brendan’s Hall

With approximately 17 members, Birr Art Group has worked together for many years under the leadership of Kathleen Gormley. Their new venue is St Brendan’s Market where they are exhibiting this year.

Potter by Laura Angell

masonic room

A Galway-based artist from Sheffield, Laura’s work marries issues of status, modern femininity and feminism with contemporary global themes and distractions. Building on his previous work Potty, an installation that explored success and the need for approval and love in a digital world, Pottier asks how much of this is really within our own control? In this evolution of these themes, we are invited to the artist striving to control anxiety by calling all charms, omens and omens wrapping them in luxury finishes and realizing them using knitting, crochet and Bargello’s work.

Cut-out papers by Paul Bokslag

masonic room

Paul Bokslag is a Dutch visual artist and designer, based in County Kilkenny. He has produced murals, large-scale paper-cut installations, room-filling tape designs, and multi-story string sculptures in many prestigious locations across the country. This paper-cut installation is inspired by the Japanese concepts of Shinrin Yoku (being refreshed and invigorated by absorbing the atmosphere of the forest through our senses) and Komorebi (the effect of sunlight passing through layers of leaves).

The long and short of it

Pewter Jug Studio

A collaborative exhibition of small works of text and images by visual artists, poets and writers.

The listening hand

Birr Theater and Arts Center

Bridget Flannery, Pat Fitzpatrick, Jock Nichol, Rosemarie Langtry

” You want to see ; listen” (Saint Bernard of Ciairvaux, 12th century).

This exhibition brings together the work of these four artists who are inspired by the experience of landscape through different media. Each seemingly instantaneous mark or surface is underpinned by years of research, listening, thinking and crafting, to see beyond the outward appearance and allow the natural world to speak through their work.

Annual exhibition of open submissions

Oxmantown National School

Organized by Julie Spolen

We are delighted to leave the online world behind and host this exhibition in the lovely hall of the National School in Oxmantown. Julie has an MA from the Royal College of Art and works in community and care settings in Offaly. She champions the arts that nurture society with a specific focus on artistic interactions working with older participants.

Portals by Tina Claffey

Copper Shaft Gallery, Birr Castle

Tina has a unique perspective of the flora and fauna of the unspoilt bogs and wet forests of the Irish Midlands. Bogs are magical places that defy any distinction between land and water. They are the last true wilderness in Western Europe and are home to extraordinary plant and animal species that have adapted to this unique environment to survive. This exhibition of macro photography is taken from Tina’s new book, Portals.

This exhibition will be officially inaugurated on Monday August 1 at 6 p.m. All welcome!

Between sights and the sea

Birr Technology Center | Enterprise units

Organized by Maeve Mulrennan

20 works from all over Ireland, inspired by the famous poem Bogland by Seamus Heaney. Her poem considers the ability of the bog to preserve and hide the identity and creativity of our relationship with our bogs. In 2022, our peatlands are a site of conflict, building on centuries of conflict preserved in peat chrysalises. Maeve is Curator of Visual Arts and Assistant Arts Officer at Cork County Council.

Artists at work

Birr Technology Center | Enterprise units

Visit the pop-up studio throughout the week.

John Gillen is the recipient of the Pauline Bewick Fellowship. He works in watercolor and has an established clientele for his detailed work.

Eamonn Byrne’s primary focus is portraiture, working in oil and acrylic.

Katerina Hayden enjoys creating a story through her watercolor and acrylic paintings and has exhibited extensively.

Birr Creatives ‘Tea Time’

Birr Technology Center | Enterprise units

An assortment of handicrafts on display by the newly formed Birr Creatives, using needlework, fabric and paper, mosaic, glass, paints, loom work and more. The group meets at the library every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Birr Creatives brings together those who like to use their skills to design/make objects, beautiful, useful or both!

local artists

Birr Technology Center | Enterprise units

Sorrel Lambton, Aneta Komendera, Emma Mulrooney, Frank Gallagher, Wiltrud Dull.


Birr Technology Center | Enterprise units

An exhibition of LSAD graduates from the past two years with links to the Midlands. Finn Nichol received the RDS Taylor Art Award in 2021, given to the nation’s most promising arts graduate and this group includes artists shortlisted for these prestigious awards. Day Magee is a performance-focused multimedia artist based in Dublin. Since 2011 they have performed as part of live art organizations such as Livestock and the Dublin Live Art Festival. They will perform on Saturday, July 30 at 1 p.m. at the Birr Technology Centre.

Emma Behan, Day Magee, Finn Nichol, Maeve Beouf Smith, Ellen Rose Wallace, Adele Passas, Francesca Hutchinson.


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