Celtic Junction Arts Review

Ireland Inspired

By Kate O’Donnell

My name is Kate, and I love making art. My method of creativity is acrylic painting, which I began about eight months ago. For years I have felt my brain reaching full capacity of Irish memories, this year I decided to unleash them onto canvas. As I sketch out the scene, I can reminisce. But when I add color to the image, I am instantly transported to that place and time. It almost seems that I can use my paintbrush as a portal to the past. 

I was lucky enough to spend a few school years and many summers in Dublin. It was a massive part of my childhood, so I am happy to have found a way to honor it creatively. One of the first paintings that demonstrates a prominent youthful memory, is the scene from Killiney Hill. This was a torturous climb for an asthmatic and chubby child, like my younger self. I truly huffed and puffed, quite dramatically, the entire length of the amateur hike. Once my face and ginger hair matched the same hue, I knew we had reached the top. I would look up and see the most breathtaking sight, give the inhaler another puff, then look again. The scene was so green and mystical. You could walk around Killiney Head for hours just observing the magical scene from every angle. Reminiscing on these times, I felt that I must recreate my view. I added some twists and twirls and glitter from my memory. They may have been from the side effects of my asthmatic episodes, but that is how I remember it.

Killiny, painting by Kate O'Donnell

Adding onto Killiney, another fond memory has to be Dun Laoghaire pier. My family and I have walked this pier an innumerable amount of times. This was a common Saturday activity. My sisters and I were always so eager to walk this pier, due to the 99 awaiting at the other end. We would hop to the other side of the East Pier and search into the sea for seals, while breaking our ankles on the unstable rocks. The rain would come in, and that would be the perfect time to climb to the top of the pier’s wall, and balance all the way to the end. Our parents and irish grandma would watch in horror as we excitedly sped walked the slippery, elevated stone surface. It was cruel, yet exhilarating. Then, we looked around us. We saw sail boats, ships afar, fighting seagulls, leashless dogs, an occasional seal, and far too many kids with ice cream that were not us. We would race to the end, retrieve our 99, and groan at the realization that we still had to walk back. Despite our complaints, the walk was beyond beautiful. It was always a day well spent. I would give anything to hop on a number 7 bus and go for another slippery, seal searching stroll.

Dun Laoghaire pier, a painting by Kate O'Donnell
Grafton Street, a painting by Kate O'Donnell

One more painting I will comment on will be the scene of Grafton Street. This painting was set on a Christmas night. I do not think a single Christmas has gone by where I have not craved this view. I only spent one Christmas in Dublin, but I remember it only too well. We walked down Grafton and gazed upon the dazzling, Gaelic phrases hung above. We would get hot chocolate from Bewleys and observe the festive surroundings. There were, as always, endless street performers and busy shoppers. Although, Christmas in Dublin felt comforting because you knew everyone was finally home. 

These are some of my Irish scenes, I am constantly working on something new, so there are definitely more to come. As of now, the best way to view my art is on Instagram, with my account: k8_cr8tions. I truly love painting and want to pursue my passion. I am confident that this is only the beginning, so stay tuned as more works come to life. I hope you enjoyed my art! Thank you for giving it a look. 

Kate O'Donnell

Kate O’Donnell is currently a second year student studying in Canada at the University of Manitoba. She is pursuing painting at the School of Art. She was raised in St. Paul, Minnesota with plenty of time split in Dublin where she partially attended primary school.