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Orla Egan

Orla Egan was born in Dublin and now lives in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. She spent most of her childhood in the West of Ireland.

Orla is a figurative painter and works in the primitive tradition. Her childhood spent in the west of Ireland has a strong influence on her pictures depicting fishermen, markets, the circus and going to the carnival. Her interest in the social history of Ireland in the 1900s is shown in many of her pictures. In her paintings, she attempts to capture on board the daily life of people, some of whom are immortalized by J.M. Synge in "Riders To The Sea" and who lived in Ireland between 1880 and the early part of the 20th century.

Orla was a member of a group of artists who attended weekly sessions at The Glebe Gallery under tutors Chris Wilson and Willaim Gallagher between 1986 - 2000. She also attended a weekend course in 1995 with Melita De Naro, and Nigel Massey, graduates of The Royal Academy London.

Orla has had nine pictures selected for the Royal Hibernian Academy shows, one of which - The Circus Comes to Town - was illustrated in the 2002 catalogue. She has also had work selected for The Royal Ulster Academy and Iontas shows. Her picture 'Kilronán Aran' was featured on The Kenny Live Show in conjunction with The Art for Omagh Auction.

Exhibitions include group shows in Thompson's Gallery, London; the auction for the Children's Hospital Belfast, organised by the joint North/South Secretariat in Armagh; the auction for the Children's Hospital in Pakistan organised by the cricketer Imam Khan; the Special Olympics and the Dublin Education Together Schools.

Prizes include

  • The Glebe Gallery Prize in 1996, 2000, 2003 and 2005
  • 1st Prize in the Donegal Arts Festival competition in 1995
  • Her work 'The Fishmarket' was featured in the Galway Hospice Christmas Cards


  • Duchas, Glebe Gallery Collection
  • The Great Blasket Centre, Kerry
  • Guardian P.M.P.A. Insurance Co.
  • Suzanne MacDougald (The Solomon Gallery)
  • Mrs. Jean Kennedy Smith
  • Martin Mooney
  • Melita De Naro
  • Brian Fallon
  • Bernadette Madden
  • John De Vere White & Fergus Ahern
  • Michael D. Higgins T.D.
  • Martin Ferguson
  • E.S.B
  • O.P.W.


2002Annual Exhibition, RHA.
The Nicholas Gallery, Belfast.
Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London.
2001 - 2002The Ferguson Gallery, Ramelton.
Exhibition of Irish Art, Wren Gallery, Oxfordshire.
Galway Arts Festival.
2001Iontas Small Works Exhibition.
2000 - 2002The Leinster Gallery, Dublin.
2000 - 2001Wexford Opera Festival.
1999 - 2002Group Exhibition, Thompsons Gallery, London.
The Sandford Gallery, Dublin.
Group Exhibition, The Workhouse, Dunfanaghy.
1999De Veres Art Auctions
1998 - 2001Group Exhibition, Sligo Art Gallery.
1998 - 2000Group Exhibitions, Lambay House Gallery.
1998 - 1999Annual Exhibition, R.H.A.
Boyle Arts Festival.
1998Joint Exhibition, The Workhouse, Dunfanaghy.
'Art For Omagh Exhibition', R.H.A.
1997Iontas Small Works Exhibition.
The Great Blasket Centre, Kerry.
1996 - 2002The Kenny Gallery, Galway.
Group Exhibitions, The Solomon Gallery, Dublin.
1995 - 1998Group Exhibitions, The Gordon Galleries, Derry.
1994 - 2002The Glebe Gallery.
1993The American Embassy McGee College, Derry.
1990 - 1944All local exhibitions.


19951st Prize, Donegal Arts Festival Art Competition
1996The Glebe Gallery Open Arts Prize
1997Favourable Reviewed by Iontas Selector
1997Artist Shelagh Hourihane
1998Picture "Kilronán Aran" featured on Kenny Live in connection with the "Art for Omagh Exhibition"
2000The Glebe Gallery Open Art Prize
2002 - 2001Mention: "Buyers Guide to Irish Art" and "The Irish Arts Review Book 1999"
2002Picture "The Fish Market" on Galway Hospice Christmas Cards
2002Picture "The Circus Comes To Town" illustrated on the R.H.A. Catalogue