Kate inspired by the riches of life

Nigel Dugdale


Nigel Dugdale

Kate inspired by the riches of life

Kate Hennessy with Dr Andy McCarthy who offically opened her exhibition in the Hunt Museum. Below, Kieran Harte of Uber

KATE Hennessey was born in 1945 the day before Hitler died although she insists there was no connection between the events.

She is a youthful person with a kind face and exudes a joie de vivre that is slightly infectious.

Her exhibition which opened at the Hunt Museum last week is a wonderful feast of colour, joy and creativity from a local artist who has a great passion for her home town.

From a very young age Kate always had a love of drawing and painting.

She was educated at the Salesians Convent on Fernbank for both her primary and secondary education.

“One of my earliest memories is at seven years of age as a student in Salesians”, Kate tells me.

“Sister Mary Gillen, recognising my abilities, handed this young girl a piece of chalk and invited me to draw the entire Christmas story on a long blackboard in one of the classrooms. It was a moment I will never forget. I felt like Picasso and Michelangelo all rolled into one”.

Kate grew up in the days when families would gather to say the rosary every night. Every evening after the rosary her mother would ask what she wanted to be when she left school.

“I announced that I wanted to be an artist. My mother’s reaction suggested this was something she wouldn’t countenance.

“She responded by saying I could be anything I wanted to be but certainly not an artist,” Kate remembers.

In an attempt to curb Kate’s determination to go down the artistic route her parents sent her to Ms McNamara’s High School where she was trained in clerical skills.

In the end her parents had to relent and she was accepted as a student of Jack Donovan in the art school then located on Mulgrave St in the city.

Kate tells me her work is inspired by the riches of life.

“I love the interiors and exteriors of churches and mosques. I love exploring museums and all the various artefacts. I read the history of art, fashion and am fascinated by anything visual”, she says.

Kate is famous for the sketchbooks she has created down through the years. These wonderfully illustrated notebooks capture the sights and sounds of the many places that she has visited. A number of the sketchbooks are on display as part of the Hunt Museum exhibition.

One thing that will strike you about the Hennessey exhibition is the vast colour that hits you from the moment you enter the gallery space.

Interspersed with these vibrant pieces are black and white watercolours depicting some of the pieces from the Hunt collection. A lot of the ideas for the exhibition came from hours spent in the library of the Hunt Museum.

Kate attributes her youthful style on good genes and a positive outlook.

“I really don’t like cultures that don’t value the older generation”, she says.

“Age isn’t something to be embarrassed about or to lie about. It is a fact of life. I never have a problem sharing my age because it is not something that causes me a moment of concern. I’m twenty-four years of age in my soul. I’m still curious, still creative. There no difference in my mind between me today and my younger self. As long as I am healthy, creative and alive then I am happy”.

Uber to help bring life to the centre

Attending the official opening of Uber’s Centre of Excellence in Limerick on Monday one could sense just how big a piece of news it was for the city.

Just six months ago the Thomas St building stood vacant at a location in the city centre, a sad reminder of the demise of the Celtic Tiger.

Fast forward to today and the building has been tastefully transformed by Healy and Partners architects into a modern, bright workspace which will be home to over 300 employees.

Monday's launch was a celebration for many reasons.

The presence of one of the world’s fastest growing companies in heart of Limerick city is testament to the hard work being done behind the scenes by those working to shape our city’s future.

You just had to look the sense of pride from the young vibrant team employees that Uber has gathered to date to realise that Uber’s presence in Limerick is creating quality jobs and tapping into the wealth of talent the city offers.

I wish Uber all the very best for their future in Limerick. Their commitment to our city will no doubt lead to other job creation opportunities in time.

Get the lowdown on our national anthem

In a series of four talks which commence next week Dr Michael Murphy of Mary Immaculate College will discuss some current issues in musical life in Ireland, with a particular emphasis on the repertoire that will be performed in the Mid-West Region in the spring and summer of 2016.

The first talk is entitled Soldiering on: Ireland’s national anthem from 1916 to 2016 where Murphy explores the history of the national anthem.

There will be a particular emphasis on how the relationship between Ireland and England has impacted both negatively and positively on its career to date.

Anyone with an interest in musical life in Ireland is welcome, and each talk will be illustrated with video, images, and recorded performances.

There will time for a general discussion afterwards and refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening.

Full details on the series can be found at https://www.limetreetheatre.ie/show/soldiering-on-irelands-national-anthem-from-1916-to-2016/