Since 2010, the annual two-day Galway Garden Festival has been held within the grounds of the beautifully restored 15th century Claregalway Castle. From modest beginnings the festival has grown into a major attraction drawing large crowds from around the country. In addition to specialist nurseries from all corners of Ireland, the festival includes live music, a series of talks by well-known speakers, children’s entertainment, a specialist bookshop, food stalls and much more. In 2012, the first annual Botanical Art Expo was held at the Castle in conjunction with the Garden Festival.
Botanical art exhibitions have been sadly few in number in the west of Ireland in the past, in spite of the many artists who have found inspiration in the flora of two of Ireland’s botanical jewels: the Burren and Connemara. The intention of the organisers is to offer botanical artists a new and attractive venue to exhibit their work, and to provide visitors with an opportunity to experience first-hand the high standards that prevail in Irish botanical art.
Since last year’s Botanical Art Expo, we have seen the development of our fledgling Irish Society of Botanical Artists, and this year it is hoped that more of our members will take part in the exhibition. Last year’s exhibitors included Grania Langrishe, Yanny Petters, Susan Sex and Lynne Stringer.
This year the Garden Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, 6 and 7 July, and the Botanical Art Expo will run from 6 July until early August (closing date tba). The exhibition will be opened during the evening of 6 July by Brendan Sayers, who is also one of the guest speakers at the Garden Festival
As an integral part of the Garden Festival, the art exhibition attracts many visitors and potential buyers. During the summer, the castle is open to visitors daily from 11.00am until 4.00pm, during which time the botanical art exhibition will also be open.
Whether or not you exhibit at the Botanical Art Expo, do consider spending some time at the Garden Festival. There is always a good chance of finding unusual plants, the speakers and the music are always excellent, and the castle itself is well worth a tour. For further details about the castle go to www.claregalwaycastle.com, and for more information about the Garden Festival, go to www.galwaygardenfestival.com. The castle is also on Facebook, and over the coming weeks, more information about the festival and the art exhibition will be found there.