21 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. They will be displayed in the Quadrangle at NUI Galway for one month, with the public invited to visit free of charge and without prior booking.
An exhibition displaying the 21 currachs was opened showcasing unique works by John Behan, Jennifer Cunningham, Ger Sweeney and Áine Phillips, among others as part of Culture Night. The event celebrates the partnership between NUI Galway and the multi-functioning arts space located on the smallest of the Aran Islands, Áras Éanna, which will allow the two institutions to work together to promote the islands and the West more generally as places of culture, learning and research.
Along with the exhibition of the traditional Irish boat unique to the West, 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 partnership between the University and Europe’s most westerly Arts Centre, which will be on display until 10 October 2021, will not only allow for showcases like this, but also to support staff and students who wish to travel to the island and use the facilities at Áras Éanna as part of their studies. There will also be a fund established for them, such as artist studio space, a 75-seat theatre, two galleries, a café and various rooms and spaces for workshops and classes
President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “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.”