Pictures at the Priory 1st, 3rd, 5th May from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Rector’s remarks at the press launch on Wednesday 19th April:

Welcome to the press launch for Pictures at the Priory 2017. Pictures at the Priory has been going now for a number of years. It was the brain child of Lesley Sandes, the wife of a recent rector the Very Revd. Denis Sandes. It has been an annual event here in the Kells Church of Ireland group of parishes since the nineties.

Over the years it has attracted a varied collection of exhibitors – from the Sunday afternoon amateur to local artists of distinction such as our own Canon John Flinn.

As well as an exhibition of paintings, there are a number of craft exhibitors some of a very high standard. Raffle tickets are on sale, and to date we have received a number of gifts some of them very valuable from various businesses. We are delighted too to be able exhibit pictures painted by the children of our local St Brigid’s National School Kells. As you walk from room to room enjoying the art work, you will hear wafts of live music coming from the drawing room – oboe, piano, strings, voice, flute, and trombone.

Pictures at the Priory is a good place to mix and mingle, wandering around the different exhibits and sipping your complimentary glass of wine. Tea, cakes and chat are also on hand in the tea room. You would never know who you might bump into – old friends perhaps you haven’t met in years!

I have just last week retired as rector of Kells, having been here since 2011. I hope that this event will continue to develop and adapt in future years. Pictures at the Priory has established itself and people attend it from all over south Kilkenny, and even further afield.

I like the fact that it provides an opportunity for the Church of Ireland to interact with the wider community. One of the most important of the exhibits each year is the Priory itself. It is good to provide an opportunity for people across the community to see around this historic building, built as a Church of Ireland rectory in the early eighteen hundreds, and which has served that purpose ever since.

This fine house is a listed building, and is part of Ireland’s cultural heritage. Of course a building of this size and age needs money spent on it from time to time. Over the years the profits from Pictures at the Priory have contributed to its upkeep. In this context I would like to acknowledge the recent generosity of Kilkenny County Council, and of the Heritage Council in helping us with this essential preservation work.

This year, as well as raising money for our own parishes, we are supporting the Amber Women’s Refuge. Sad to say the work of Amber seems ever more necessary to provide a secure and safe shelter for women and children suffering violence. We are pleased to have with us Jean Murphy, Senior Project Manager at Amber who will tell us about the important work that Amber do.

Revd Martin Hilliard

Rector (retired) of the Kells Group of Parishes Church of Ireland.

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