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St Patrick and the Holy Mountain


Croagh Patrick meaning Saint Patrick’s Stack or can also be referred to as the ‘Reek’. Is a mountain eight kilometers from Westport in Murrisk, Co Mayo on Ireland’s Atlantic Coast. The distinctively peaked mountain has reputedly been a site of pagan pilgrimage, since 3,000 B.C. It is now a Christian hike associated with Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. The bringer of Christianity to these shores and banisher of Snakes, supposedly! (For that good deed alone he deserves to be celebrated each and every year).

Croagh-Patrick, the holy mountain
Croagh-Patrick, the holy mountain

It is believed that a teenaged Patrick was abducted by Pirates and sold into slavery. Forced to work as a shepherd in the west of Ireland. For six years he toiled before managing to escaping and making his way back his home to the UK. Where he threw himself into the study of Christianity. Traveling to monasteries in England and France, eventually getting himself ordained as a priest. Acting upon a vision he had of receiving a letter

I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.”

Patrick resolved to return to Ireland and spread the word of god. Which was very decent of him considering they had kidnapped and enslaved him in his youth.

It is said he fasted on the summit of the reek for forty days in the fifth century A.D. No doubt, enjoyed the beautiful view out over clew bay. As a result the last Sunday in July (Reek Sunday) became the traditional day to climb the Mountain. An estimated 40,000 people per year do so. A few brave souls even do it bare foot!.

Croagh Patrick painting progression
painting progression-Croagh Patrick

Over the duration of producing the oil painting I had to change the composition and colour combinations a few time. I discovered that it was over populated and cluttered. As a result I ended up removed one of my figures in order to give the eye’s natural path clearer access to mountain. In order to give the remaining pilgrims more character i decided to contrast there clothes with the surrounding environment.

If St Patrick has taught us anything, it is that on the 17th of March we celebrate not just his legacy but all things Irish. We embrace our shared cultural heritage no matter what corner of the world we find ourselves in. That you don’t have to be born on the Emerald Island to be Irish or to enrich Irish society. Therefore all that you just require is a hard earned appreciation for the outdoors. Allied with a willingness to let bygones be bygones (unless your a snake, then you can feck right off)

Fun Art Activity Book
Fun Art Activity Book
CroaghPatrick Spot the difference
CroaghPatrick Spot the difference

Considering out current situation, If you are look for some related fun. like puzzles, spot the difference, word games, trivia or colouring pages. Download my FREE Activity book by signing up for my newsletter below. It’s totally FREE just download and print of the pages that interest you.

Happy St Patrick’s Day where every you are

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A Galway Girl

Galway Girl's eyes

Rain washed Galway is nestled between Lough Corrib and a stretch of wild Atlantic sea that rolls along Galway bay. It is a medieval city of about 80,000 folks, noted for having a rich cultural tradition. Which finds it’s expression in the many forms. Such as July’s Art festival of street performances, Parades, plays, musical concerts and international Artists. To the annual Horse racing festival in Ballbrit with it’s fashionable ladies and tailored gents.

Throughout the year most Pubs are graced with a variety of talented musicians. Playing music from every strip and stripe of the spectrum. Which is probably among the reasons why Galway is currently the European Capital of Culture for 2020, alongside the Croatian city of Rijeka

Being the principle city in the West of Ireland it has a rich vein of folk and traditional music practitioners. Where guitars, Fiddles, Bodhrans and Accordions are not an uncommon cite or sound upon the cobbles stone of Shop st or the shade of buttermilk lane. That, coupled the odd pint, the harsh fineness of it Men and the ferocious beauty of it’s women makes it’s no wonder that two famous musician both pinned Songs of some acclaim about “the Galway girl”.

Galway Girl- work in progress
painting progression

Steve Earle first wrote about the titular Galway Girl and whirling her about the Salthill promenade around the turn of the millennium. (Caution: if the wind catches you there, you may end up whirling for hours!). The other version called Galway girl , is by the Songwriting scallywag Ed Sheeran. Which at last viewing had over 460 million views on YouTube, that’s more than all the people that live in Galway and it’s Suburbs and hinterlands!

All of these influences blended together and fed into my Painting The Galway Girl, Shawl and all (Feat. Ed Shearing). I pictured a woman with hair of black and eyes of blue. A woman that wouldn’t look out of place on Ladies day at the races, with her eloquent poise and contemporary fashionable Galway shawl (that’s another cracking folk song).

She is sitting in Eyre Square, resting a moment between belting out a few lively tunes on her fiddle. She does this just as much for her own amusement as for the delight of the lucky passers-by. She’d had her ups and down and she’s learn’t you’ve got to look out for number one first.

Galway Girl -Feat Ed shearing
Galway Girl -Feat Ed shearing (Oil on Board)

Over her right hand shoulder is the fountain with Éamonn O’Doherty sculpture of the Hooker sails. Which is a nod to the cities maritime history and traditional fishing boat used in Galway Bay. The sculpture was installed to mark the quin-centenary of Galway’s incorporation as a city in year of our lord 1984.

Over her right should is The Browne doorway. Relocated to the Eyre square in 1905 after being taken from Browne family townhouse on lower Abbeygate. Where it was build in 1627, as the Brownes being one of the fourteen Tribes ruling of Galway, i presume were living high on the hog

There are a few sheep roaming about the Square. This is due to Ed kindly volunteering to do a little shearing. The wool I gathered up and sent off, to be converted in to these Cotton T-shirts: Galway Girl (feat Ed Shearing)

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Natural Assets

Hi again, after a few false start I remembered to record  the development of this paint, I’ve titled natural Assets, it Oil On Board as usually.  Below is  short Little Video of about 80sec’s displaying my Honest endeavour

The subject of the work is inspired by taking a sideways look at Irish export, with a prominent one being our culture, so i am playing on the romantic idyllic rural countryside The tourism board push in the 1950/60, with our turf, our lakes and other charming young things. Another thing we exported a lot of was people for many reasons, but one was talent, such as our actor. In my fictional little work Saoirse may be admiring Micheal’s Natural Assets – his Ass and cart load of Turf, what more could one wish for on those long winter nights.

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This was a fun commission for me to tackle, as it allowed me more creative freedom to try and include all the elements my client had asked for with the 30cm X 20cm confines of the mounted board. My first step was to come up with a layout that includes all the requested objects in a “workable narrative” as well as being compositional pleasing.  When i was happy I lightly drew the design onto the white primed board. Only to erase it, so as to leave the faintest trace of a line, which would act as guidelines. Then I started blocking in or under-painting, basically getting the foundation colour of each object down.


Once the board is cover with the first layer of paint, I usually leave it while for the oils to dry before repainting the scene again. This time adding shadow, highlights and some detail in order to balance the colour and give them a sense of depth, as can be seen by the addition of darker red areas to the car and highlighted stars of the galaxy


I then repeat this step again and again further refining the detail and depth of the paint until I’m happy with it. I really enjoyed painting the deep blues/blacks of space and the tint of pink in the galxy’s spiral arm, and the variation of skin tone between the two space men. I endeavor to get each painting to a certain representational standard but it is just as important not to obsure the brush work as i feel it gives it’s own character, At the end of the day it is an oil painting. You may notice that towards the end I swapped out my little green alien for a Cat,  the Client wished to have something more personal to him, which is what commissioned Fun Art portraits is all about.


Thank you for reading, please let know what you think by leaving a Comment, liking it or FaceBooking me. If you happen to find yourself outside on a nice clear night, why not look up at the Majesty of the stars and untold wonders of the void, you might even spot out friendly spacemen!

Until next we meet, be well,
D.P O’ Malley – cultural satirist and painter in oils.


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Dogs Of War

Dogs of war was inspired by a World war II photo,  In my painting we see a British bulldog, American hound and Siberian husky having a meeting to try and agree upon the best way to marshaling and manage their plastic soldiers.  Who do you think will find it the hardest to put their toys back in the box?

For a mounted 12″x 10″ print of this image Visit my Esty page