Monday, April 18, 2016


Tomorrow is the last chance to see the Triptych exhibition at Ballinasloe Library. Here are a few pics from the launch night.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Group 8 members John Soden, Brendan Grealy and Grellan Ganly are having a joint exhibition of their work entitled TRIPTYCH at Ballinasloe Library next week. The opening is on Tuesday 12th April at 7pm. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. The exhibition will run until the 19th of April.

Monday, March 7, 2016


Sheila Flanagan
We had a great night on Friday at Tosnú Art & Craft Gallery's studio for our second Art & Words talk with artist Sheila Flanagan. Sheila gave a slideshow and talk about her own art work, as well as about ArtFarm and its residencies, and the community work she does to bring art to Ballygar and its surrounding areas.

Nuala introducing Sheila
Sheila talked about her use of the feminine in art and her love of found objects. She also spoke about her reservations about artists being overly productive. When she first moved to what is now ArtFarm, she realised that she had to figure out a way to be in synch with her new community and she sought to solve that by bringing artists, and art, to the community at large. She set up artists' residencies in which the artists engaged with the local community, and also set up events for both the Bealtaine Festival and Culture Night.

Sheila in full flow

Sheila also spoke about the miniscule arts budget allocated to County Galway (€400k for the whole of the county area, including Connemara) and she emphasised the need for groups to unite and lobby for better funding.

In the future, ArtFarm may run a writer's residency and we will bring news of that to you anon. In the meantime, go here for further info on residencies for visual artists.

ArtFarm - slideshow image
Sheila is an artist of great energy, talent, charm and commitment, and the studio at Tosnú was packed with eager listeners on Friday night. Thanks to everyone who came along to enjoy Sheila's talk and the copious amount of tea, coffee and cakes.


The following images are my photos of slideshow images of Sheila's artwork so excuse the poor quality. They don't do the pieces justice, but you get the idea:

Slideshow image of eggshell faces

Slideshow image of the reverse of Time Please

Slideshow image of woman made from recycled plywood with mirror in stomach cavity

Slideshow image of woman in a web

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Cloonkeen-based artist Sheila Flanagan is the second guest in artist collective Group 8’s new Art & Words series of talks in Ballinasloe. She will present a slideshow and talk about her artwork, as well as socially engaged practice in a rural setting, and Artfarm, the rural art space in Cloonkeen, Newbridge, that she runs.
Oscailt - Sheila Flanagan
Sheila will appear at Tosnú Art & Craft Gallery’s studio in Brackernagh, Ballinasloe, on Friday March 4th at 7.30pm. Admission is free. Tosnú will be open on the night selling quality hand-crafted gifts and cards. Refreshments will be served.

Time Please - Sheila Flanagan
Sheila received a BA in Fine Art from GMIT in 2003 with first class honours specialising in sculpture. In 2005 she moved to Cloonkeen which led to a deep questioning of her art practice and its meaning in a rural context. Through this introspection the concept of Artfarm emerged The mission of Artfarm is to create opportunities for artistic expression by providing interaction through residencies, projects, talks etc., and for artists to go there with an aspiration to inspire, share, experiment and develop new ideas. The aim is to navigate towards explorations of ecologically sustainable art and contemplative art practice.

Vessel - Sheila Flanagan
Artfarm is part of an evolving sculptural installation entitled R10 based on time, ecology, identity and intervention. Artfarm is the centre point and the surrounding circular region of landscape, villages and community are the artpiece, a living, evolving time-based work. This Artwork has a radius of 10 miles and a 10 year deadline up to 2020.

All are welcome. Free admission.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Margaret Hickey at the Tosnú studio

Group 8 had a wonderful night on Friday night at Margaret Hickey's reading at our very first Art and Words talk. Margaret read from her book Irish Days, as well as from her poetry and her wonderful book-in-progress which is a history of Irish food.

The studio at Tosnú was packed and everyone enjoyed perusing and buying before and after in the re-launched art and craft gallery.

Local artist and singer Andrew Duke

Tosnú Art and Craft Gallery will be open 10 to 6, Monday to Friday from now on.

Zara Little-Campbell of Tosnú

Friday, November 20, 2015


Group 8 member Úna Spain will give a talk on her arts practice on Monday Nov 23rd, @ 8pm in Gullanes Hotel.

Úna graduated from GMIT in 1997 with a Diploma in Art & Design and was awarded an Honours Degree in Photography from DIT in 2009. She also holds an MA in Contemporary Art Practice and Media. Her most recent body of work consists of photography, Super 8 film and a limited edition artists book collectively entitled Marking Time which looked at three ‘erstwhile’ sites in Ballinasloe and people formerly associated with them. The critic Aidan Dunne described this work as a ‘brilliant, composite insight into the social and psychological reality of change on a local scale in Ireland’ (Irish Times, June 17, 2009). Úna has exhibited at Tulca, The Kenny Gallery and The Gallery of Photography in Dublin.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Margaret Hickey to Read at new Art & Words Series

Author Margaret Hickey

Portumna-based writer Margaret Hickey is the first guest at artist collective Group 8’s new Art & Words series of talks in Ballinasloe. She will appear at Tosnú Art & Craft Gallery’s studio in Brackernagh, Ballinasloe, on Friday November 27th at 7.30pm. Admission is free. Tosnú will be open on the night, selling hand-crafted Christmas gifts and cards. Beautiful soaps, candles, cushions, knitwear, wood-turned boxes, children's wall art, textiles, clothing, books etc. Refreshments will be served.

Before Margaret Hickey moved to Ireland fifteen years, she worked as editor of a literary travel magazine and as a freelance writer in London. Prior to that she taught at a school for delinquent boys in Edinburgh and at the university in Paris. In 2001 Kyle Cathie, her UK publisher, brought out Irish Days, a collection of oral histories narrated by older people from different walks of life in Ireland.

Margaret writes short fiction and poetry, and mentors a creative writing group. Her current project, a social history of Ireland seen through the prism of food and drink, is near completion. In addition, she is Vice-director of Shorelines Arts festival in Portumna.

Group 8 is delighted to welcome a writer of Margaret Hickey’s calibre as our inaugural guest speaker. We promise a magical night of words, candlelight, quality crafts, tea, cake and lively discussion. Everyone is welcome!