A beautiful spot in equally beautiful Connemara hub Clifden, The Whitethorn Gallery is run by local artistic star Anne Merrins, and describes itself as a ‘mainstream art’ location. That means lots of delicate landscape prints, stark statues and a handful of in-house painters. You’re sure to find plenty that references Connemara itself, but there are also fine works from around the country and further afield.
Main St, Clifden, Co. Galway, Ireland. +353 872275171
Not an art gallery as such, but certainly one of Ireland‘s best creative communities, and a corner of Connemara that any arts-loving visitor will want to see. Spiddal Crafts is home to both the production and sale of anything from hand-blown glass to ceramics, coin-based jewellery, and the work of Brazilian resident artist Andrea Rossi, who makes vibrant folk art. Seeing the art in progress is the best part.
A far cry from the city’s plusher galleries, 126 is the rawest of the artistic offerings on this list, and for some that will make it the best. Associated with street art and bold exhibitions, they run on a shoestring, with regular calls out to the community and lots of bold, imaginative projects. Exhibitions tend to be short-lived and dramatic, with plenty of colour, and the residents are extremely passionate about what they do.
Galway’s contemporary arts hub, the Galway Arts Centre is another revolving exhibition space that takes in an incredible array of local art and entertainment, including theatre and visual arts. The gallery is equally fluid, with a penchant for cartoony modern art and statement sculpture. There are classes, too, if you feel like getting your hands dirty.
47 Lower Dominick Street, Galway, Ireland. +353 91565886