LCGA Exhibitions

LCGA Exterior 2014

Limerick City Gallery of Art|LCGA

1985 to present
Limerick City Gallery of Art


Continues to host and exhibit the best of Contemporary Art by Irish and International Artists


Brief History:  

The turning point in the fortunes of City Art Gallery came in 1985 when the Library moved to the historic Granary building. In the same year, the Carnegie Building was officially named the Limerick City Gallery of Art, the City Librarian ceased to be Curator and Paul O’Reilly was appointed the first fulltime Director/Curator.  Subsequently, it was expanded to encompass the whole Carnegie Building resulting in the creation of a large amount of exhibition space and the display of a much larger proportion of the permanent collection.  This was augmented by the building of an extension in 1999.

Throughout this period the permanent collection expanded steadily until it amounted to 831 historic and contemporary works from 456 artists by 2005.  Two important specialised collections have been acquired in the last twenty-five years.  In the late 1980s, the Michael O’Connor Poster Collection was donated to the LCGA.  Comprising over 2,800 items, the collection was generously donated by avid collector Michael O’Connor and comprises a huge range of international posters of historical and cultural significance.  In 1983 Samuel Walsh founded the Limerick Contemporary Art Society and in 1987, the Society’s committee established the National Collection of Contemporary Drawing, which was given to the LCGA in 1991.  The collection currently holds over 200 pieces and has given the impetus to attract exhibitions specifically dedicated to contemporary drawing in Ireland and abroad.

The Arts Council, an Chomhairle Ealaíon, have funded Limerick City Gallery of Art’s programme since the late 1980s to the present. 

In 2008 the Carneige Building celebrated its sixtieth birthday and in 2009 work commenced on the largest addition to the Carnegie Building since its opening a century before.  The Carnegie Building (a protected structure) was extended on three sides into the People’s Park to house a new storage space for the permanent collection, a café/library social space, a workshop area and additional public facilities.  The extension was designed by Hugh Murray of Limerick (project architect) and John A. O’Reilly of County Clare (design architect) and funded by the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism through the Access II scheme (designed to assist the provision of high standard arts and culture infrastructure) which provided 70 per cent of the cost and Limerick City Council, which provided the other 30 per cent.  The scale of the redevelopment necessitated the closure of the LCGA for a long period, during which parts of the collection were exhibited in Istabraq Hall, Limerick City Hall and the Hunt Museum.

Limerick’s municipal art collection is now valued at around five million euro and is one of the finest in the country outside Dublin.  Fittingly, the seventy-fifth anniversary of its foundation has was marked by the official opening of the newly extended LCGA on 16 January 2012 by Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

A sculpture called “The Siege of Limerick” - by internationally renowned, New York-based artist Brian O’Doherty marked the re-opening. The ‘triangular’ sculpture was funded by the ‘Per Cent for Art’ programme, which allows pieces of art to be commissioned or purchased as a complement to an architectural development.


List of Curators and Directors/Curators of the Limerick City Gallery of Art

Fulltime Director/Curator

Úna McCarthy 2015 to present

Helen Carey 2012–2014

Pippa Little (acting) 2011–2012

Marion Lovett (acting) 2010–2011

Pippa Little (acting) 2009–2010

Mike Fitzpatrick 2000–2009

Paul O’Reilly 1985–2000


City Librarian ex-officio Curator

Maurice Flynn 1974–1985

Marie Crowe (acting) 1973–1974

Maire Lanigan 1958–1973

Robert Herbert 1948–1957


further information from  LCGA Short History (800 Kb)


If you notice any errors or omissions please let us know as soon as possible and we will correct them as appropriate.  

Please forward the information to

The Gallery Plan Your Visit Gallery Events Exhibitions The Collection Education Publications Media