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East Clare artists Nathalie El Baba, Deirdre Carr, Mel White and Ailish McElroy in the new pop-up art shop at Mountshannon village. Photograph by John Kelly

Pop up art shop creates a buzz in Mountshannon

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A POP up shop will return to Main Street, Mountshannon this weekend, as a vacant building is transformed into a colourful hub showcasing the artistic richness of East Clare.

Thanks to the generosity of the cottage owner, John Tuohy, the Mountshannon Arts Shop will open its doors on October 9 and 10, bringing a buzz of life and vibrancy to the harbour town. The popular venue did very well over the Mountshannon Arts Festival weekend and the artists and crafters involved were delighted with the response, as were locals and visitors alike. 

The artists involved in this unique collaboration include Ailish McElroy of Ailish McElroy Millinery in Bodyke; Scariff-based visual artist Nathalie El Baba; Rachel Maloney, a Fine Art graduate from Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD); Mel White aka Maximillist Art, a self taught Pop Art influenced artist; and Deirdre Carr, an artist and poet. 

“Mel White played an integral part in securing the premises and setting up the shop,” explained Ailish McElroy. “The objective of this pop up is to provide us with an opportunity to raise awareness of local artists living and working in the area and to provide a dedicated space to  promote and sell our work. There is currently no permanent dedicated gallery space for local artists in the area. Most of us work alone so the pop up shop also provides an opportunity to connect with other local artists in our area. We ran the first pop up art shop as part of the Mountshannon Arts Festival and it was very successful. We had a lot of visitors to the shop.”

Ailish is a skilled artisan and self taught milliner producing bespoke hats and accessories handcrafted in her studio in the hills close to Bodyke. Her highly creative recent range of hats focuses on the colour and texture of the Clare coast and her Wild Atlantic Beanie Collection is proving to be very popular. 

Deirdre Carr, who has a vibrant and multi-layered range of oil paintings available to purchase, is currently doing a three-year programme of transdisciplinary processes and transdisciplinary research with Creevagh and Karum, a group of Irish and Swedish archaeologists, artists, musicians and dancers. The theme is ‘Stone Water and Movement’ in the West of Ireland and Oland in Sweden. 

Mel White of Maximillist Art takes most of her inspiration for her graphic and pop-art style paintings from photographs taken on her global travels. She is also inspired by the posters and prints of artists such as Andy Warhol, the abstract designs of Picasso, and the imagination used in the creation of works by Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo.

Nathalie El Baba is a visual artist and experienced facilitator who works with themes of migration and connection, reflective of her personal journey. Her family left Lebanon when she was a young child during the civil war. Through her painting Nathalie explores the strong emotional connection to place in Ireland and her fascination with the sense of rootedness, contrasted against the constant movement of the sky. 

Fine Art graduate Rachel Maloney’s most recent work has been inspired by the David Attenborough series, ‘Our Planet’, in particular the episode ‘Coastal Seas’. Using a mixture of textile screen-print and gathered scraps of recycled fabric, Rachel has created bright colourful pieces that convey the natural beauty of the sea and its wildlife.

In addition to the pop up shop, Mountshannon Arts has also created an online shop as a platform to view and purchase locally created work. The virtual shop showcases the five artists involved in the pop up, as well as the work of ‘Fionnathan’. The duo of social entrepreneurs, are  are a father and son based in Mountshannon who work through music, live presentations, videos, and visual arts.

Full details are available on


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