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Paul Henry, 1876 - 1958, one of Ireland's foremost artists

Paul Henry 

Paul Henry is one of Ireland’s foremost artists. He stayed for two years in Shean when he acted as paymaster for the Congested Districts Board for Ireland.

He was born a Protestant in Belfast and travelled to Paris in his youth.  Here, he mixed with artists such as Degas, Toulouse–Lautrec and authors such as Yeats, Synge and Wilde; it was at this time that he married his wife, Grace, said to be related to the poet Lord Byron.

He took the advice of Yeats and Synge that if he wanted to find his Irish roots, he should visit the Aran Islands. However, Henry chose Achill instead. He painted in Achill from 1910 to 1919.

This work typified the early days of the Irish Free State. He was a Post Impressionist painter, and said to be one of the best Artists Ireland has ever produced. His Irish landscape painting was unromantic and sympathetic to the lifestyle and environment of the poorest people of the west of Ireland. In his use of mass and colour he was the first artist working in Ireland who painted in the post-Impressionist style.

Two of his most famous paintings of Achill are considered to be:

The Launching of the Curragh
 Launching of the Curragh Paul Henry

The Watcher

The Watcher Paul HenryA number of his painting were used by the Irish Government to boost tourism, and some of them are still used even today.

Paul Henry - Is this Ireland's Favourite Painting? For footage from RTÉ please click on the image:

A Connemara Village Paul Henry