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What lies beneath: Moonlight, Lugnaquilla

Moonlight, Lugnaquilla by Seamus O’Byrne

Oil on canvas

Courtesy of the artist and RHA

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Moonlight, Lugnaquilla by Seamus O’Byrne

Moonlight, Lugnaquilla by Seamus O’Byrne

Moonlight, Lugnaquilla by Seamus O’Byrne

Born and reared in Marino, Dublin, Seamus O'Byrne was given his first set of oils aged 10. Eldest of nine, "a happy, adventurous childhood" meant "rearing birds, a love of nature and an interest in falconry". O'Byrne, at 16, applied for an NCAD scholarship but was too young. He joined the ESB, as an apprentice electrician, became a draughtsman and 25 years ago a job transfer to Pollaphuca and Turlough Hill Generating station meant West Wicklow was on his doorstep. "Out in the wilderness was a revelation."

Since voluntary redundancy in 2007 he's been painting full-time and apart from some night classes at North Strand Tech and NCAD, O'Byrne is mainly self-taught. He won first prize in the CDL National Adult Art Competition when he was 23 with Fragile, a figurative work of an H-Block prisoner during the hunger strike. Early work featured solitary figures, large still lifes, political subject matter. This beautifully silent, eerie work Moonlight, Lugnaquilla was awarded The Hanley Energy Landscape Prize at this year's RHA Annual Exhibition.


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