Cill Rialaig, a pre famine village on remote Bolus Head, lay in ruins, abandoned for nearly half a century, and was about to be demolished altogether when former publisher Noelle Campbell-Sharp and a local community group bought the site, set up a Trust and began rebuilding it as an artist ‘s retreat in1992.
The plans had been unveiled on site by the then Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey who predicted “it would make a big sound one day in the world of arts .
Since then over 2000 artists including writers, poets, composers and playwrights have found sanctuary there so near to the great Skellig itself one of the most famous “hermitages ‘of all. President Mary McAleese visited the village in 2008 to dedicate one restored house to the seanachai (storyteller) Sean O ‘ Conaill who lived there between 1853 and 193I. This thatched stone house which has no electricity in its main cabin room is now used as a Tig an Comhra (Conversation House) or meeting place for the many Irish and International artists who are granted, free of rent, short stay residencies of one to four weeks.
Although the Project reserves a special place for young and emerging artists it has played host to many of Ireland’s leading artists along with eminent artists from abroad who go back to their countries with exhibitions inspired by the South West of Ireland.