This year, the Friends of Kettle’s Yard have been able to take advantage of two carefully-researched trips outside the UK organised by the events committee, one to Portugal in May and most recently to Dublin in September. The focus of the Friends’ four days in Dublin was on contemporary art and architecture with plenty of time to enjoy the ambiance, food and drink of this great city.
John Gray records the highlights of the trip:
‘A first for the Friends was the chance to fly direct from Cambridge Airport which meant that we had a joyously easy flight. Our group virtually filled the plane. On arrival in Dublin, we were whisked by coach straight to our 4 star hotel.
First call that evening was the Royal Hibernian Academy which supports and promotes Irish contemporary artists. We were given a welcome talk by the Director, Patrick Murphy, on the Academy’s history, its collections and the current show of thought provoking work in a variety of media by Maria Simmonds Gooding. Afterwards there was a chance to meet a lively group of the Academy’s Friends over drinks. Later, some of us took advantage of a private view in a nearby gallery whilst others adjourned to the bar of Shelbourne Hotel.
Next morning saw a trip to the Docklands area for an excellent guided architectural tour taking in
James Gandon’s Custom House (1781-91), Michael Scott’s Fifties modernist bus station, through to Santiago Calatrava’s elegant Samuel Beckett bridge and Daniel Liebeskind’s spectacular Grand Canal theatre. Later we moved to Trinity College for a guided tour by a wonderfully entertaining post grad student. We were shown the awe-inspiring library with the Book of Kells among the highlights plus modern sculpture by Henry Moore and Alexander Calder.
Then on to Kilmainham to visit the Irish Museum of Modern Art located in a vast former war veterans hospital – the Irish equivalent of Chelsea – where we were given an introductory talk by Janice Hough, Co-ordinator of the Artists Residency Programme. There was then the chance to meet some of the Residency artists, as well as to view the impressive collection which includes works by Antony Gormley, Sean Scully, Michael Craig-Martin, William Scott and also a good photography exhibition. Next was a visit to the Hugh Lane Gallery with its fine collection of Impressionist and 20th century art, its evocative reconstruction of Francis Bacon’s studio and a good show of First World War lithographs.
The final evening saw us enjoying a group dinner in our hotel and the last day was free to explore Dublin independently. Some headed for the National Gallery for a stunning exhibition of works selected by Irish writers with paintings by Caravaggio, Rembrandt and by Irish painters including Jack. B Yeats. Then on to the Chester Beatty Library and Sweny’s chemist shop immortalised in Ulysses. In Dublin, there is no escape from the Joyce connection!
We returned to Cambridge with tired legs but also a with huge fund of goodwill for this fascinating European city just across the water. Our thanks go to Ruth Rattenbury and Deborah Owen for arranging an imaginative and enjoyable trip.’
To see more pictures of the Friends trip to Dublin click here.