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The triptych portrait of Vicky Phelan on Doonbeg Beach, painted by Vincent Devine. Photograph by Naoime Gaffey

‘Amazing interest’ in Ennis visit of Vicky Phelan Portrait Tour

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THERE is “amazing interest” in next week’s arrival to Ennis of a portrait inspired by the courage of Vicky Phelan, according to local organisers of the event. The Vicky Phelan portrait tour featuring a painting of the Kilkenny woman on Clare’s Doonbeg beach, a location she described as her favourite place on earth, will visit Danlann An Chláir on Friday January 26 at 7pm.

The event is hosted by Councillor Mary Howard in partnership with Clare Haven Services and Relay For Life Clare. As well as the display of the painting guest speakers on the night will include Vicky’s childhood friend David Brennan who bought the painting along with Clare healthcare campaigners John Wall and Caoimhe O’Neill- Forde.

Since we announced this very different event a couple of weeks ago there has been amazing interest in it. Vicky’s strength and frankness really struck a chord with so many people who admired her from afar, and this is an opportunity to learn more about the woman and her passion,” said Councillor Howard.

The painting, created by renowned Irish artist, Vincent Devine, was inspired by Vicky Phelan’s incredible courage. The portrait was purchased at a charity auction

by Vicky’s lifelong friend and fellow Kilkenny native, David who wanted to ensure the painting remained close to Vicky’s family.

He doesn’t consider himself the owner, more a custodian and he wants to use the portrait to raise awareness and continue Vicky’s extraordinary legacy.

Vicky was a prominent women’s health advocate prior to her death from cervical cancer in November 2022. She was also a mother, wife, education specialist, cancer patient and justice campaigner. Best known for her emotionally charged statement from the steps of the Four Courts in April 2018, she unearthed one of the biggest medical and political scandals of our times.

First diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer in 2014, she became a very public figure, championing many causes, lobbying for experimental drug treatment and establishing the 221+ support group, all while fighting her own battle with cancer and caring for her family.

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