Dublin Art Tours

Cathy Roche Dublin art tours by Leeza Kane3

If cavemen could create some of the most sophisticated art work ever by candlelight some 40,000 years ago in pitch dark caves, why do evolved human beings today have trouble talking about or understanding art?

Cathy Roche of Dublin Art Tours has a mission to bring knowledge of art to the layman on the street with her business in guided art tours to some of Dublin’s main art galleries.

Until 18 months ago she lived in Sandymount and now lives in Donnybrook where she also runs the business. She wants to demystify art so that when people see a painting they have an understanding of what era the painting comes from and why it is painted the way it is.

With a background in charity art auctions, including Autism Ireland, she found that although people were buying the artworks they didn’t know about the art itself. “When I would ask ‘what do you think about the painting, do you like it?’ people were actually afraid they would say something silly.”

When looking at paintings from Caravaggio to Picasso, her approach is different. It’s not just about explaining the individual paintings, she goes through the art chronologically and gives tips and guidance that can be applied to any art anywhere.

Cathy advocates an approach of less is more when it comes to viewing art, “I’m often asked what is the most important thing about art, I say a coffee break, as it gives the chance to absorb what they have just seen.”

Other tips include focusing on a painting that catches your eye when you walk in the room, stand in front of it and slowly view it from top to bottom. Tours on offer include The National Art Gallery, The Hugh Lane Gallery and The Book of Kells at Trinity College.

Like anything of high value, some of the paintings explained have been subject to theft but thankfully retrieved. Vermeer’s A Lady Writing a Letter which belongs to the Beit family, was stolen from their home, Russborough House in 1974 by the IRA. It was retrieved but dramatically stolen again in 1986 by the notorious and now-deceased Dublin criminal, Martin Cahill (nicknamed The General). It was again recovered undamaged but because of the risk in keeping it at home, the Beits permanently loaned it to the National Gallery of Ireland where it is on view in secure surroundings.

For more information see

Pictured above: Cathy Roche in Front of the National Gallery.
Photo by Leeza Kane.

By Leeza Kane