Twenty-one uniquely decorated currachs have journeyed from Inis Oírr to the NUI Galway campus to officially launch a new partnership between Áras Éanna arts centre and the University.
The special exhibition opened on Friday as part of Culture Night, and it showcases unique works by John Behan, Jennifer Cunningham, Ger Sweeney and Áine Phillips, among others.
The currachs will remain on display in the Quadrangle at NUI Galway for one month, with the public invited to visit free of charge and without prior booking.
The new partnership between the University and Áras Éanna will see them work together to promote the islands and the West more generally as places of culture, learning and research.
A new fund has been established by NUI Galway to support staff and students who wish to travel to the island and use the facilities at Áras Éanna as part of their studies.
“I often use the metaphor of the ‘currach full of fish coming in to shore’ from Máirtín Ó Direáin’s poem ‘An tEarrach Thiar’ to describe the resourcefulness and potential of our university community and our region,” said NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh.
“I am delighted that 21 currachs have come to campus to launch the new partnership between the University and Áras Éanna.
“We respect the unique language, culture and environment that we share in the West of Ireland and we are open to collaborating with Áras Éanna and the Inis Oírr community to promote that distinctiveness as part of the life of our university.”
Áras Éanna Artistic Director, Dara Mac Aoidh, said that after a very successful summer exhibition across Inis Oírr, they are delighted to bring the ‘Curacha’ exhibition to NUI Galway.
“We welcome this new partnership between the University and Áras Éanna, and look forward to working on many collaborations and projects in the future that will benefit both the University and the island of Inis Oírr,” said Dara Mac Aoidh.
NUI Galway and Áras Éanna formally launched the exhibition, coinciding with nationwide Culture Night celebrations, in partnership with Galway Music Residency.
As part of the launch, ConTempo Quartet performed a specially selected suite of classical and contemporary music connected to the ocean, composed by Alec Roth, Claude Debussy and Katharina Baker.
NUI Galway Drama students were also on hand to recite a selection of poetry by Máirtín Ó Direáin.
The exhibition of 21 currachs will run until 10 October 2021.