Friends Fortnight at the National Gallery of Ireland

Photographer: Jack Caffrey, The Pimlico Project, 2017. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

Two weeks of inspiring virtual events exclusively for members

Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland will enjoy two weeks of exclusive, inspiring events this month as Friends Fortnight begins on 15 February 2021. 

Offering deeper engagement with the national collection for Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland, this series of virtual events brings art to the homes of members across the globe. Friends will hear from experts in various fields including art, music, history, mindfulness and design over the course of 14 virtual talks, tours and interactive sessions. All events will be free for members. Anyone can become a Friend of the Gallery in minutes, online or over the phone.

Events in week one include: a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most fascinating stories in the Gallery’s extensive Library & Archive; a Q&A with curator Dr Aoife Brady (Curator of Italian and Spanish Art); a virtual tour of the Gallery’s collection through a LGBTQIA+ lens; a conversation with Adrian Le Harivel (Curator of British Art) and Blanaid Murphy (Director of the Palestrina Choir) about music and paintings; a ‘how to’ on researching family history with expert Claire Bradley; and a journey through the Gallery’s Irish art collection. 

In week two, Friends can enjoy more exclusive access including: a talk by Vermeer expert Dr Adriaan Waiboer on Vermeer & the Art of Genre Painting; a discussion with internationally renowned Irish designers Electronic Sheep, whose products are available in the Gallery Shop; world-renowned zoologist, author and painter Desmond Morris in conversation; the annual Director’s Lecture; and an insight into how exhibitions work by Anne Hodge (Curator of Prints and Drawings). Friends Fortnight closes with a special session with art historian and yoga instructor Mary Dowling: Movement, Meditation and Mindfulness.

Friends Fortnight will also include an exciting competition in partnership with the Irish Landmark Trust. Friends will be in with the chance chance to win a weekend in the beautiful Schoolhouse at Annaghmore, Sligo.

All Friends Fortnight events are free to Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland. Friends support the work of the National Gallery of Ireland, including exhibitions and acquisitions. Annual membership starts at €35, with Individual, Joint, Concessionary, Patron and Student categories available. More details, including sign up and a full programme of Friends Fortnight events, at

Media contact:
Kate O’Leary, Communications, National Gallery of Ireland | [email protected] | 087 334 1587

Notes to Editor:
Images are available on request. 

Friends Fortnight schedule:

  • 15 February, 1pm | Curator’s Coffee: Hear from the Gallery’s Curator of Italian and Spanish Art, Dr Aoife Brady. (Live online talk)
  • 16 February, 1pm | Music & Art: Adrian Le Harivel, Curator of British Art, and Blanaid Murphy, Director of the Palestrina Choir, discuss art and music inspired by Glamour and Governance. (Video lecture)
  • 17 February, 6pm | Researching your Irish family history: Claire Bradley shares the basics of how to research your Irish family history online. (Live online talk)
  • 18 February, 1pm | Irish Art: Katy Milligan explores the Irish art collection at the Gallery. (Video lecture)
  • 19 February, 2pm | Behind the Scenes: The Gallery's Library & Archives team share fascinating stories about objects (Live online talk)
  • 20 February, 12.30pm | LGBTQIA+ Tour: Kate Drinane leads a virtual tour of the Gallery's collection exploring LGBTQIA+ related artworks. (Live online talk)
  • 21 February, 2pm | Chester Beatty Gift: Valerie Alexander discusses  two artworks from the Chester Beatty Gift. (Live online talk) 
  • 22 February, 1pm | Vermeer & the Art of Genre Painting: Dr Adriaan Waiboer, Vermeer expert and former Head of Collections and Research at the National Gallery of Ireland. (Live online talk)
  • 23 February, 1pm | A Fireside Picasso: The Máire McNeill Sweeney Bequest: Joanne Drum discusses a generous bequest to the Gallery. (Live online talk)
  • 24 February, 6pm | Desmond Morris in Conversation: Desmond Morris, world-renowned zoologist, author and painter, in conversation with Donal Maguire, Curator, ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art. (Live online talk)
  • 25 February, 6pm | Annual Director's Lecture: A talk by Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland. (Live online talk)
  • 26 February, 2pm | Curator’s Talk: Anne Hodge, Curator of Prints and Drawings discusses the forthcoming exhibition Living with Art: Picasso to Celmins, a British Museum touring exhibition. (Live online talk)
  • 27 February, 1pm | Electronic Sheep: Brenda Aherne and Helen Delany discuss their internationally renowned designer label Electronic Sheep. (Video lecture)
  • 28 February, 12.30pm | Movement, Meditation and Mindfulness: Gentle movement, meditation and mindfulness inspired by the collection with Mary Dowling. (Live online event)

About the National Gallery of Ireland:
The National Gallery of Ireland is one of the country’s most popular visitor attractions housing the nation’s collection of European and Irish art from about 1300 to the present day, and an extensive Library & Archive. Entry to the collection is free for all to enjoy, learn and be inspired.

About Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland:
Due to ongoing COVID-19 measures, membership benefits at the National Gallery of Ireland have been adapted to ensure that Friends can continue to engage with and enjoy the national collection. Although in-person events are not currently taking place, members have access to a rich variety of digital events and content. 

  • Friends Fortnight: an annual two-week festival in February with exclusive daily events 
  • Free unlimited entry to all ticketed exhibitions (pre-booking essential) 
  • Live virtual events, sharing first knowledge and behind-the-scenes stories about Gallery exhibitions and projects 
  • Exclusive access to digital content, including videos of art history talks and lecture series, shared via weekly email newsletters 
  • 10% discount in the Gallery Shop all year 
  • 10% discount on customised prints 
  • 20% discount on selected online Education events 
  • Early bird booking for selected online events 
  • A copy of the Gallery's new magazine, The Gallery

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