Opening of a new Macroom art school in a former convent

MACROOM’s new art school, in the city’s historic former convent, is holding an open house next month to promote awareness and appreciation of the benefits of creativity for the community.

To celebrate the school’s relaunch and the reopening of classes in September, Chapel Hill School of Art will be hosting the event on August 21 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In partnership with Cork Craft Month and Heritage Week, and with the support of the Cork County Council Heritage Office, a series of heritage workshops and demonstrations will be organized.

The school is based in the historic Mercy Convent on Chapel Hill in Macroom, designed by architect John Pyne Hurley in 1860.

It was founded in 2020 by Joe Neeson and John McCormack. They met and started working together at the National Sculpture Factory in 1997. Since then they have collaborated on numerous large and small scale sculptures for national and international artists.

This work is exhibited in public and private collections.

Macroom Convent has been a center of education and community engagement since 1865. In 2012, after 150 years of education and community engagement, the Mercy Sisters were reassigned to other convents and the building closed.

In 2016, the two men acquired the building and embarked on their ambitious project to create the Chapel Hill School of Art. The first phase of this plan begins in September with the relaunch of art classes. Classes will take place in the property’s old prayer room and stained-glass chapel.

“We both felt that it would be important to continue the educational history of the building. The logical path for us, given our background, was to create the Chapel Hill School of Art, ”they said.

Bernadette Tuite, program coordinator at the school, said: “During the day there will be events for the whole family with live music and food stalls. There will be opportunities to meet artist educators and register for classes, tour the Chapel Hill grounds and have family fun while celebrating the arts, traditional customs and heritage crafts that connect the community to each other and to the locality.

They offer a range of art programs for all ages, from fun creative opportunities to the master class experience. For more details on the open house, visit

Kayleen C. Rice

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