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Interview: My Tipperary Life with artist Ann Brennan

Ann Brennan

Ann Brennan

Ann Brennan is a self taught artist working from her home based studio in Ballingarry, South Tipperary. Ann has been painting for a long number of years and has built up a strong reputation within Tipperary and further afield with her evocative landscapes and seascapes.

She has captured the essence of Tipperary in her landscapes of Slievenamon and The Rock of Cashel to mention a few. Her paintings have brought a piece of home to so many living abroad. Ann also facilitates four oil painting adult classes on a weekly basis in the Tipperary area and runs workshops throughout the summer.

Ann, along with her students, donates paintings to the Incognito Initiative in aid of The Jack & Jill Children's Foundation every year and just recently they donated numerous works to TLM which is a children's cancer charity in Tanzania. Art can help and improve people's lives, it just needs to be shared.

What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend in Tipperary?

I love to walk so any day I can go for a walk is a perfect day. Whether it's with my husband Jim or with my friends, that's enough for me. We are blessed with so many beautiful places to walk locally. The Crag in Grange is a favourite of ours and of course Lough Doire Bhile near Glengoole and the surrounding bogland walks. Sli na Slainte route on the outskirts of Ballingarry village is a great easily accessible walk also. For me. good company, fab scenery and a walk within our own beautiful Tipperary is a perfect day for me.

Who has made the greatest contribution to Tipperary in your lifetime - and why?

For me The Clancy Brothers from Carrick on Suir were great ambassadors for Tipperary worldwide. Their music brought a sense of home to people who had to emigrate. they kept the spirit alive for so many when they were so far from home. It was through the annual Clancy Brother Festival, I got involved in The Tudor Artisan Hub in Carrick.

This is an arts collective run by Linda Fahy for local artists and craftspeople, musicians, writers. It is so important for local artists to have a place like this to promote our work. During these Covid times, it has been our lifeline. Check out the facebook page - Tudor Artisan Hub.

What's your first Tipperary memory?

My first memories of Tipperary stem from various events that are now long gone. We loved to go to the festival in Killenaule and the parade through the town which was usually held in the summer.

The Macra field days were also great which brought young and old together for various forms of entertainment. The parish sports days in Bretts field were also great fun and community based. Ballingarry has such a brilliant sense of community and it's getting stronger year by year.

What's your favourite part of the county - and why?

Tipperary is such a large county so there's lots of places I love but none more so than where I live in Ballingarry and the Slieveardagh hills and surrounding areas and villages.

The drive down The Reen and looking over the bog and Lough Doire Bhile in the distance is one of my favourite places , I will never tire of it. To follow the railway line through the bog is special and I was thrilled to hear this will be the new Greenway. These are the places where I get my inspiration for my paintings.

What do you think gives Tipperary its unique identity?

I think the first thing that comes to my mind is its history, how the men and women played their part in freeing this country in the war of independence. Of course the founding place of the GAA and its continued involvement in the sport today. Slievenamon and the Rock of Cashel are both iconic features in our county. They are both regular requests for paintings. They are very popular with people who are living abroad and want a part of home.

Do you have a favourite local writer or author?

I love to read and I wish I could have been blessed with the gift to write but I was handed a brush instead to tell my stories. We are very lucky to have a great number of creative writers in Ballingarry and surrounding areas.

One of my schoolmates Martin Vaughan set up the Slieveardagh writers group who meet once a year. It is always a great night to hear poems, short stories, both funny and serious and music. There are so many local people writing and being creative.

What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?

Other than Covid I think the decline in the centre of our towns. It's very disheartening to see the empty shops and often empty streets where once were bustling and busy. Unfortunately due to Covid there will be much more of this apparent in the time to come.

If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Tipperary, what would it be?

Tipperary is already a great county with lots to offer so nothing comes to my mind that I would change. We are very lucky to live in a county with such a variety of history, music, arts, sports and I could go and on.

Check out Ann's work on her website
Facebook page - Ann Brennan Artist.
Instagram - annbrennanart

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