The Lavelle Art Gallery has been operating in Clifden since 1988. It was set up by Eoin Lavelle as a summer pursuit and has developed over the years into a full time venture that welcomes visitors all year round. Today the gallery maintains a longstanding reputation for the promotion of fine art painting of the highest quality in the west of Ireland.
Gavin Lavelle is a fine art graduate from the National College of Art and Design. He took over the running of the business in 1994 and since then he has brought his own artistic background and talents to the fore. Visitors to the shop on Main street will enjoy meeting Gavin who is an enthusiastic and good humoured advocate for his artists and who enjoys sharing his views with like minded aficionados. You may also have the opportunity to meet gallery assistant ‘Snowy,’ who is a big hearted maltese with a creative soul.
The gallery building is over two hundred years old and frequent visitors to Clifden will instantly recognise this tall bright yellow edifice. Clifden shop owners take great pride in their shop fronts which are brightly coloured and faithfully maintained. None more than the Lavelle Gallery which has been painted ‘Indian Palace yellow’ since the early 1980’s. This striking building has been in the Lavelle family for six generations. There are three floors, the main display area being the largest room in the house. This space would have originally been the sitting room of Gavin’s grandparents Kathleen and William who ran a successful drapery business on Main Street in the middle of the last century. Work has been completed to expand the gallery to include the second largest room which is situated directly over the main shop floor – it is a fine room with good natural lighting and an original fireplace. This space is now open to the public and you can read all about it on our Gallery Blog.
Originally from Kildare, Deborah Watkins moved to Clifden in 1996. Deborah and Gavin married in 2000 and they have three daughters – Hannah, Genevieve and Clementine. Deborah studied ceramic design at N.C.A.D. and she ran her own pottery studio in Clifden for a number of years in the early nineties. Practicality and curiosity motivated Deborah to begin painting in 2008. Her depictions of the Connemara landscape and coastline reflect the rich lustrous colours of her early potting career. Deborah’s paintings were featured on R.T.E.’s Nationwide programme in 2012.
Writing is an important part of Deborah’s work. She keeps a record of her painting processes and her inspiration through her blog deborahwatkinspaintings.com. This reached the final of the Irish Blog Awards in 2012. Deborah also writes the Lavelle Art Gallery blog which was long listed for the 2015 Irish Blog Awards. Deborah is a feature writer for her local newspaper, the Connemara Journal and her poems were short listed for the Cuirt New Writing Prize in Poetry in 2014.