Saturday 16 December 2017

Balbriggan Tourism host wonderful Harry Clarke cultural event

Dr Nicola Gordon Bowe
Dr Nicola Gordon Bowe
Cllr David O’Connor, Petra Skyeova, Cllr Grainne Maguire, Fingal Mayor Darragh Butler, Dr Nicola Gordan Bowe, Cllr Tony Murphy and Darragh O’Brien TD

Balbriggan Tourism got its 2017 programme off to a super start with its first cultural event of the year taking place.

The event at St Peter and Paul's Church was organised in order to celebrate and promote the great art by Harry Clarke whose two stained-glass windows are located in the Church to the left and right of the main altar.

Harry Clarke (1889 - 1931) is described as a genius of his age. He was a stained-glass artist and illustrator who died at the young age of 41 having created over 160 stained-glass windows for religious and commercial commissions, as well as numerous book illustrations and other works.

The first part of the event consisted of a talk on the two Balbriggan windows, The Visitation and The Widow's Son, by the art historian and Harry Clarke scholar, Dr. Nicola Gordon Bowe.

Dr. Bowe gave a very detailed and captivating talk about the two Balbriggan windows and the artist who created them.

Dr Gordon Bowe is an Associate Fellow at the Faculty of Visual Culture, National College of Art and Design in Dublin; Visiting Professor, School of Art and Design Research Institute at the University of Ulster; and Honorary Research Fellow, University of Wales.

Her most recent publications include a revised and updated edition of her seminal biography Harry Clarke: The Life and Work, and a biography of Ulster-born stained glass and graphic artist Wilhelmina Geddes, published by The Four Courts Press, Dublin in 2015.

The members of Balbriggan Tourism Committee, chaired by Cllr Tony Murphy, were delighted with such a great turn out on the day.

The audience included, among many local dignitaries and other distinguished guests, a curator from RIA, the architectural historian Brendan Grimes, Dr. Margarita Cappock, Head of Collections at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Tony Kiely, DIT School of Hospitality Management and Tourism and Coilin O'Reilly, Fingal County Council Head of Tourism Development.

Dr. Bowe's talk was followed by the unveiling of three full-colour plaques, celebrating the windows which Balbriggan Tourism commissioned and had installed outside the Church. Mayor of Fingal Cllr. Darragh Butler officiated at the plaque unveiling.

Balbriggan Tourism Committee have been working on developing a tourism proposition for Balbriggan.

One of the key components of Failte Ireland's tourism campaigns for Ireland is the promotion of cultural tourism. Balbriggan is very fortunate to be the location of these magnificent windows which enhance the town's appeal to the culturally curious visitor.

A set of four postcards depicting images from both of the Harry Clarke Balbriggan windows can be purchased at the offices of Balbriggan Tourism and Balbriggan Chamber of Commerce opposite the courthouse on George's Square. They are on sale for €1 each.

Fingal Independent

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