I mentioned on Twitter that I hoped to visit Tony O’ Connor‘s latest exhibition while I was in Ireland. I also wanted to see as many friends as possible. I wondered if I could kill two birds with one stone. I suggested to my friend D that we make a road trip from Cork to Clonmel, about an hour and a half away.
“We coud do lots of catching up on the way,” I said. “And then we could see all these cool horse pictures while we’re there.”
It worked really well. We talked ourselves dry en route, catching up about horse stuff, dog stuff, people stuff… Finally, we reached the outskirts of Clonmel and I realised I didn’t have directions. Or the name of the gallery. Oops.
No problem. With modern technology, one is never lost. As long as there is 3G coverage of course. We were in luck – there was. A quick browse through Facebook produced the name of the gallery – South Tipperary Arts Centre – and then Google maps told us where to go.
As we turned the penultimate corner, we both said “Oooooh” simultaneously. A shop selling designer clothes? A shoe shop? Fancy china with a big SALE sign displayed? No, we’re both horsey girls. A tack shop or a field full of ponies, so? No, neither. It was a blacksmith’s workshop – not horsey, but full of interesting wrought iron thingies. We’ll come back and have a look at that later, we said.
We made our way into the gallery and had a good look around. I had approval from the Man Himself to take photos so I snapped away happily. I have to confess that I liked Tony’s wildlife better than his horses this time round. They spoke to me – “BUY ME! BUY ME!” But times are hard – and many of them were already sold. Here’s a slideshow to share with you guys so you get an idea of what was there.
We went for a coffee next door and then went back to the wrought iron place. The blacksmith, Joe Channon was there and we chatted for a good while. He helped his father put the fancy railings around the workshop years ago, he said. His father was clearly an artist, too. The more we looked, the more we saw :
Joe is also a farrier, but he said he’s only doing two or three hours a day with horses now. There are fewer horses and more farriers, so less work. He’s lucky to have the workshop – and he’s good at his craft, too.
I had to get back to the passport office in Cork for two thirty, so we eventually said our goodbyes and left.
Later that afternoon, I called in to see Tony in his studio – I owed him a bottle of wine from a long time back. That debt is now paid with a nice little Rasteau – I hope he liked it. He told me that the gallery had called to say that they had had to put up a “No Photography” sign. Weird. I was quite open about taking pictures, and they hadn’t asked me not to.
Tony’s studio is quite bare now. Ideas for new work were strewn around the floor in the form of sketches. There are still one or two paintings around the place, but he has a lot of work ahead of him to get ready for the Dublin Horse Show in August. The exhibition in Clonmel is practically sold out, so I don’t think any of them will be going on to the RDS!
It’s great to see Tony doing so well. He’s come a long way from Carey’s!!