Listowel's precious plaster master-works under the spotlight

Getting 'stuck in with stucco' will be the name of the game in Listowel next week as part of a major retrospective of the work of a man regarded as one of the finest master craftsmen in Ireland, as well as its greatest plaster worker.

Pat McAuliffe (1846-1921) is the creative genius under the spotlight at the Seanchaí on Tuesday next, July 10, as the Listowel Business and Community Alliance hosts a free seminar and workshop on his beautiful handiwork, as well as his life and times.

It's also going to a be a hugely proud day for the McAuliffe family, including Pat's great-grandson Xavier McAuliffe, who will be present to take part in the celebration.

Pat McAuliffe's unique work is among the most important assets of Listowel's rich heritage, featuring atop so many buildings - not least the famous Maid of Erin, as well as The Harp and Lion, and so many others in both Listowel and Abbeyfeale.

Self-taught, he single-handedly invented the stucco plasterwork material and style for which he became renowned. "Listowel has a unique range of buildings marking it as one of the best Irish towns in terms of its rich architectural tapestry, including the 15th century FitzMaurice Castle, the Georgian Square, and attractive vernacular Victorian streetscapes," Alliance Chairman Stephen Stack said, inviting everyone to attend.

"Of particular renown are its delightful shopfronts, many of which provide the canvas for the Celtic-Revival style stucco-work of Pat McAuliffe.

"Pat was a local self-taught craftsman who has left a most extraordinary legacy and whose work has been described as a 'unique contribution to Irish decorative art, not only in Listowel, but in Abbeyfeale, County Limerick."

Registration begins at 10am, and the event will also give people the opportunity to receive advice from a conservation architect and learn some great tips on the business of applying for conservation grants.

The seminar runs from 10.15am to 12.15pm, with the workshop from 12.30pm to 1pm.