Sinead Kierans at home in Clogherhead with some of her paintings. Through the wondow behind her you can see that the garden is qute bright too! Photo: Andy Spearman.
It’s always a treat to talk to creative people and an hour in the company of Clogherhead artist Sinead Kierans this morning was just that, and a welcome break from the monotony of life under the Covid-19 restrictions. Her baby daughter Juno was fast asleep upstairs so Sinead was very relaxed also!
Sinead is currently on leave from An Garda Síochana following the birth of her daughter Juno and she is making the most of her free time to follow up on her passion in life which is painting.
Originally from Leixlip in County Kildare Sinead has been stationed in Drogheda since 2010 where, until her career break at least, she was a member of the Community Policing team.
She has long since put down roots in Clogherhead where she is married to well-known Clogherhead man, Damien Kierans who is one half of the team behind the Smuggler’s Rest restaurant which opened in Clogherhead shortly before Christmas last year.
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The first year in business at the Smugglers has been a roller coaster ride of open, close, open again and close again and so on.
During one of the open phases between lockdowns my wife Jenny and I were having lunch in the Smugglers when I saw a beautiful painting of the Clogherhead Lifeboat at the bar.
It turned out that the painting was Sinead’s work as was much of the “quirky” décor of the restaurant. Until then I never knew she was anything other than the smiling face of the Drogheda Gardaí.
Even before you enter the Kierans household in Ard na Mara you will be aware that there is something creative going on inside. There are painted stones and pieces of wood everywhere and a glimpse into the back garden reveals another outdoor gallery of brightly coloured objects including a 16 foot wide mural.
Inside it seems that every surface apart from the kitchen sink is adorned with Sinead’s work, the effect of the bold colours is one of infectious brightness and energy which is only matched by Sinead’s enthusiasm when she gets to talking about her work.
For someone from County Kildare Sinead has taken to life by the sea in her stride and she loves to paint all things nautical. Sailing ships, fishing trawlers, fish and other creatures from the deep are all grist to her mill. Oh, and elephants too, not many of those in Clogherhead though, or Kildare!
Another of Sinead’s passions is timber and her favourite medium for her art is acrylic paint on timber recovered from old pallets which she and Damien collect at the harbour at Port Oriel. It sounds odd but the combination really works.
Not only does it work, it is also proving to be very popular. The painting I saw in the restaurant was actually being raffled in aid of the Clogherhead Lifeboat and raised €450 for a very worthy cause.
Many of Sinead’s trawler paintings have been bought by their owners and hang above the fireplace in fishermen’s homes or actually on the trawlers as they go about their work out at sea.
Other examples can be found throughout the village of Clogherhead including a mural at the Ashling Caravan Park which has brightened up what used to be the dull wall of a mobile home.
Sinead trades under the name of “Rusty Compass, Coastal Creations” and word is spreading far and wide with enquiries coming in all the time from people as far apart as Termonfeckin and Sydney.
Why “Rusty Compass” you may be wondering. The name came to Sinead when she was just starting to dip her toes into the world of painting and she wondered about what direction she might be brought in.
The compass may be rusty but I think that we can safely say that Sinead is going in the right direction. You will soon be able to see and purchase her work at the Forge Field in Termonfeckin followed shortly after in other gift shops locally.
This article was written by Andy Spearman
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