Kilkenny’s Home Rule Club celebrated its founder’s day on Saturday, this year celebrating the artistic talent of the late Brendan Lawless (1958-2013). The club was established in July 1894.
Brendan’s hand-painted sign, which hung on the club’s facade, is now displayed indoors while a more durable copy has taken its place out front.
Photographs of a small selection of his work, once to be seen on many of the city’s landmark buildings, B&Bs and shops, were on display. Minister of State Malcolm Noonan, who was a friend of Brendan’s, attended the event, as was Mayor of Kilkenny Andrew McGuinness and Cathaoirleach Fidelis Doherty.
Having grown up in Larchfield, Brendan attended St Kieran’s College and returned to the city on obtaining his degree in art and design in Dublin to take up a post with Kilkenny Design Workshops, working also as art teacher in St Kieran’s College. While he was an exhibited artist, the vast majority of his output was in one-off hand-painted traditional pictorial signage.
Brendan took great pride in Kilkenny and once planning legislation restricted the use of plastic signs the demand for sign writing increased, allowing him and other Kilkenny signwriters the opportunity to enhance the medieval streets with their old shop fronts. The city became his canvas.
Brendan took great care over his signs to the extent that he personally installed them and kept them looking pristine.
His love for Kilkenny was also illustrated by his volunteer work with Keep Kilkenny Beautiful when he would spend up to four hours daily in watering of the hanging basket floral displays which he had designed and planted.
Brendan later served on the KKB committee and was chairperson for a number of years. In recognition of his work, the Brendan Lawless Memorial Environmental Award is awarded annually to those who make a special effort to keep Kilkenny beautiful.
“We at the Home Rule Club are proud to commemorate his life and work and delighted to be in possession of one of his unique paintings,” said President of Kilkenny Home Rule Club Darina O’Byrne.
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