Limerick‘s art scene is small but perfectly formed, inspired by the bustling city streets and sweeping countryside that make up Ireland‘s Treaty County. In fact, the opening three entries on this list are all within a short walk of each other, meaning you can explore the bulk of the county art scene in a few hours of drifting and ogling split by a couple of swift strolls. There’s plenty to uncover, from unique buys to take home, to high-end, historically important pieces by world-renowned artists. Here are the top art galleries in Limerick to get your art fix.
The Hunt Museum
Ireland’s biggest private collection might not quite match up to the massive state-run offerings up in the capital, but The Hunt Museum is a classy spot, crammed to the gills with both art and history. There’s a revolving door of exhibitions, featuring a host of local artists, while the permanent collection allows you to grab a glance at the works of the likes of Irish icon Jack B Yeats, Pablo Picasso and Paul Gauguin. The history section’s not at all bad, either.
Limerick City Gallery of Art | William Murphy/ Flickr
The state-operated rival to the Hunt Museum in this part of the world is the Limerick City Gallery of Art. Almost 500 artists are represented in the permanent collection alone, tracking the development of Irish art in its modern form. A great introduction, this spot also hosts more of the work of distinctive abstract artists like Jack B Yeats, as well as poster artist Michael O’Connor (who has almost 3,000 works currently hosted by the gallery), plus depictions from around Ireland, from Kerry pubs to Wicklow hills.
A new, tiny artistic offering in the heart of Limerick City, the Normoyle Frawley Gallery combines a framing business with a display of works by more than twenty Irish contemporary artists. Unlike the above two spots (which are strictly ‘just looking’), this is a great place to shop for some high-end art. It currently features artists like Suzanne Fox (who examines the forbidden), Patrick Normoyle (who works in bold, geometric imagery) and Carol Doran (who works in beautiful abstract landscapes).
A gorgeously laid out stop off in old-school Adare, the Draoicht Art Gallery (draoicht means ‘magic’ in Irish) mixes painting with sculpture, also dipping into ceramic crafts and delicate wooden gifts. Their lead artists are not internationally famous but are mainstays of the Limerick arts scene, like Gavin Hogg, Peter Lunn and Syra Larkin. A great spot to check out while exploring one of Ireland’s most memorable small towns.
Tucked well off the tourist trail in Newcastle West, the Red Door Gallery is a real community-led outlet, hosting pop-up exhibitions and giving a voice to local artists since 2013. You can hear about much of what’s going on here by keeping an eye on the Limerick Arts Office (great for general coverage of the area, too). Expect talks, drop-ins from bigger Irish names, and display space for up-and-coming locals.