Meet the Staff: Caomhán Mac Con Iomaire

A photograph of a man in a blue shirt standing against a stone background
Photo by Pimlico ProjectCredit

Caomhán Mac Con Iomaire is part of the Gallery's Education team, and will be a familiar face to anyone who has attended any of our lectures or our family workshops! 

Here, Caomhán talks to us about his job, his first memory of visiting the Gallery on a school tour in the nineties, and the best 99 in the city!  

What do you do at the Gallery?
I lead the development of new programmes for individuals and groups with accessibility requirements such as sensory friendly activities and dementia inclusive programmes. I devise and facilitate art practice courses for adults and Irish language events. I supervise lecture theatre events and manage the Sunday drop-in family workshop [which is on a temporary pause due to Covid restrictions, but instead we have online workshops you can do!].

What is your favourite part of your job?
The most fulfilling part of my job is seeing different audiences taking part in programmes that I've devised.

What is the best part of working at the Gallery? 
The novelty of working in an office in the same building as artworks by Caravaggio and Vermeer never wears off. I often stroll through the rooms during my breaks and enjoy the collection.

What's the most unusual thing that's happened to you at the Gallery?  
I was involved in organising an event on Valentine's Day, 2018. It was a one- off performance by the Irish singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill in the Gallery Courtyard. Lisa performed new music in response to work by Frederic William Burton and was part of a project called Bad Romance. Everything about the event, the space, the atmosphere and Lisa's incredible voice was magical. 

What work from the collection surprises you?
I dabble in watercolours, so the genius of J.M.W Turner always amazes me. His skill as a watercolourist and the creativity he brought to his work is spectacular. A work I aIways go back to is A Ship Against the Mewstone at the Entrance to Plymouth Sound. The detail and vitality of that work alone is worth a visit to the Gallery in January. 

What is your favourite space in the Gallery?
I love Room 20 (the stained glass room). The dimmed lights enable the stained glass work of Harry Clarke, Evie Hone and Michael Healy to sing out to the full. It's a feast for the senses.

What’s your first memory of the Gallery?
I was on a guided school tour here at the Gallery in 1999. I distinctly remember a student pointing to Grief by Jack B Yeats and jokingly asking if it was the work of a three year old. The guide laughed, then urged us to look closely at the painting. We were all amazed to see people, houses and a horse appear. I always think of that moment when I look at Grief.

What is your secret talent?
I can juggle. 

What’s your top Dublin recommendation, or your favourite thing about the city?
My favourite part of Dublin is Howth Summit; the views across the bay are beautiful. I would also like to give the Stables Café in Airfield Estate, Dundrum, a mention: if there is a better 99 anywhere, I'd like to know.

Favourite museum or gallery (apart from the National Gallery of Ireland)? 
I love the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. There is one exhibit, a huge warship called the Vasa that sank in the harbour on her maiden voyage. The ship was salvaged in the 1950s and is now the focal point of the incredible museum.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Trust your gut.

Thank you, Caomhán!

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