Sandymount School of Art

By David Prendeville

Triona Sweeney. Photo Courtesy of Sandymount School of Art.

Sandymount School of Art on Londonbridge Road offers an array of excellent classes for both children and adults and is an invaluable resource of creative learning in the area.

The school was founded by Triona Sweeney in 2007. Triona has a vast background in the art scene, having graduated from NCAD and subsequently worked extensively at teaching art at primary level, secondary level and adult education.

The school promotes the individual as key and sees each person’s development as being unique. Each student works at their own pace while one-on-one tuition and support allows them to uncover their creativity and to develop skills. I caught up with Triona to find out more about what they do and to hear about her unique vision for the school.

“My focus is very much on creativity,” she tells me, “whether it’s children or adults that I’m dealing with, the approach is the same. Skills are demonstrated, we talk about the work but their response is their own individual response to something. The result is nobody’s work looking the same, so it’s not like a production line, it’s very much about individuality and creativity.”

Triona is passionate when talking about the potential in art in allowing people to blossom and find their own path in life, particularly when harnessed from a young age: “For kids, it allows them to think a certain way so that you question or you allow things to develop. You make a plan and start on a path to something, then along the way you decide you’re going to go this way instead. You could apply that to anything. You react to situations instead of saying there’s one direct route you can go down, you can have a more divergent way of thinking and that can apply to anything.”

The children usually start at the school from the age of seven and the school provides an outlet that allows for a healthy balance in a child’s development: “I think a lot of parents like to get a balance between sporting activities for their children and just being calmer and more thoughtful, which you would associate with art or doing an art project.”

The school is unique in offering courses to both children and adults. Triona tells me that this inclusivity has resulted in a terrific sense of community, something which you can tell goes hand-in-hand with how she views art. “A lovely thing is starting to happen now that I’m here so long – that some of the children who came to the very first art camps are now coming to adult classes. Some of them have been to art college and some are even finishing art college now.”

Whoever the student and whatever they’ve been up to in the intervening years, once they come back to the school their focus is purely on their art: “It’s their time to kind of shut off from everything else. They come in for that couple of hours and lose themselves in their work and their painting.”

While the school is doing great work in fostering creativity for all ages in the local community, positive word on its name has spread far and wide, with many people travelling long distances to take part in classes. “Some people travel to the school. They come in from Swords or Greystones. The way they hear about it is word of mouth. They know somebody or they saw something someone was doing while they were here and they try it out. So it’s all been word of mouth and reputation.”

With the school’s reputation going from strength to strength and Triona’s unbridled passion to continue to create, I ask her what she hopes the future holds for the school, “Just to keep going. One of the things that’s really encouraging and satisfying to me is the standard of work and the loyalty people have to the place. Just more of that and just to keep going and keep pushing the standard up and have the people continue to come back.”

We hope this excellent cultural outlet continues to go from strength to strength in the future.

You can find out more about Sandymount School of Art and see what classes they’re holding at