Gaeltacht, Portraits

“The man who jumped out the window”

Unveiling of painting of Padhraic O Congaile by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Philomena Ní Leathlobhair, Máire Barnard agus Micheál Ó Máille, Príomhoide ag nochtadh mo phictiúr i Scoil Náisiúnta Bhriocáin, an Gort Mór  (pic:  Seán Lydon)

(Scroll down for the English language version)

Agus muid ag déanamh taighde ar Éirí amach na Cásca i Ros Muc, chuala muid tagairtí go minic ar an bfhear ar léim amach an fhuinneog.  Ach cé bhí ann agus cén fáth gur léim sé amach fuinneog?

Pádraig Ó Conghaile an t-ainm a  bhí air, príomhoide Scoil Náisiúnta an Ghoirt Mhóir agus b’eisean an fear ar thug Pádraig Mac Piarais go Ros Muc don chéad uair riamh.  Tá Micheál Ó Máille, an príomhoide san scoil céanna inniu, tar éis leabhar iontach a fhoilsiú faoi agus bhí an seoladh oifigiúil ar siúl an Aoine seo chaite ag Scoil Náisiúnta Bhriocáin, an Gort Mór.

Bhí sé an-dheas go raibh gar iníonacha Phádraig Uí Chonghaile ann chomh maith don ócáid agus ag deireadh na h-oíche, nocht siad pictiúr a bhí daite agamsa dena seanathair.

But why did he jump?

Well, really you need to read that wonderful book by Micheál Ó Máille to get the full story but this man Pádraig Ó Conghaile was involved in the War of Independence. (In fact, he was the man who brought Patrick Pearse to Ros Muc in the first place).

He was the schoolmaster and one day while he was teaching in the classroom,  the sound of an army lorry was heard approaching in the distance. The Black and Tans! Quick as a flash, he jumped out the window at the back of the school and escaped up the Gort Mór mountain.

During our art project Ag Seasamh an Fhóid, I painted his portrait and then, last Friday, following the book launch, the painting was unveiled by his grand daughters Philomena Ní Leathlobhair and Máire Barnard.

Ag Seasamh an Fhóid/


art, Portraits

Portrait artists to watch

Well, the Hennessy Portrait Competition Shortlist has finally been announced and it got me thinking. To be honest, I’ve been thinking about some of the artists who aren’t on the list, artists with their own distinctive take on portraiture, some artists who you probably know and some others who you might never have heard of. So here’s a few portraits for you to look at, ones that I like, for various reasons…

portrait by Cora O'Brien 

Here’s one by Cora O’Brien, a portrait of her daughter Jennifer.  Cora has recently had a successful solo exhibition at the Ballinglen Foundation in Co. Mayo.


Here’s a self-portrait by Michael Wann in Sligo. It was accepted for the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Competition in England earlier this year.

Shelter portraits by Conor Walton

Here’s a portrait sketch by Conor Walton. Conor was working as a volunteer with Dublin Simon Community, a charity that looks after the homeless, when he did a series of these drawings. They were exhibited at Jorgensen Fine Art in 2003 and all the proceeds were donated to the charity. (about €16,000) Ten of them were acquired by the National Library of Ireland!


And here’s just a beautiful painting by Emily Scott, who moved to Ireland from the US in recent years. Just look at the light on the model’s skin.

portrait by Dave Gleeson

Here’s a lovely pencil drawing by Dave Gleeson, an artist from Dublin. It’s a portrait of his daughter, Ciara. You might catch up with him on the top floor of the St. Stephen’s Green centre at the weekends.

portrait of Olivie Cornet by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

And ok, here’s a diptych portrait that I did myself, of Olivier Cornet. He runs the Olivier Cornet Gallery on 3 Great Denmark Street,  where I had my recent solo exhibition ‘Diaspora’. I suppose I was trying to show that there are many facets to any one person.  This was the piece that the writer and critic Brian McAvera wrote about in the Irish Arts Review recently. (I might talk about that again, sometime)  Finally, just press ‘play’ on this portrait video below. It’s been created by Kevin McGloughlin (my nephew). Have you ever see anything like it?

Your comments are always welcome.  Click on the little brown speech bubble up at the top right of this post and you can put your comment there. Bye for now, eoin