Esker Arts is governed by a Board comprising of former Tullamore Community Arts Centre Ltd members, local and council representatives, as well as national creative experts and practitioners.
Esker Art's Board Members
Conor Brady, Joe Caslin, Mark Connolly, Linda Dowling, Desmond Doyle, Cllr Declan Harvey, Sharon Kennedy, Eugene O’Brien, Cllr Sean O’Brien, Sally O’Leary, Cliodhna Shaffrey, & Cllr Danny Owens.
The registered trading office of the centre is High Street, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Esker Arts Centre is a company limited by guarantee not having a share capital, registered in Offaly, Ireland with registered company number 715990.
Conor Brady became chair of Esker Arts CLG on the formation of the company in 2021. His childhood was in Tullamore and he was educated at St Columba’s, Tullamore, Cistercian College Roscrea and UCD. He joined The Irish Times in 1969 and was appointed editor from 1986 to 2002, overseeing significant expansion in coverage of the arts, culture and literature during this time. He was also president of the Paris-based World Editors’ Forum, Visiting Professor at City University of New York (2003-2005), Senior Teaching Fellow at the Smurfit Business School UCD, Chair of the British-Irish Association, and served on a number of State boards and commissions including as Chair of the Governments Top Level Appointments Committee. Conor is also the author of 7 books, including the Joe Swallow Victorian crime series, set in 19th century Dublin. He now lives in Co Galway.
Joe Caslin is an Irish street artist, art teacher and activist. Best known for his beautifully rendered pencil drawings, which manifest as towering pieces of street art. His highly accessible work engages directly with the social issues of modern Ireland. Caslin confronts the subjects of suicide, drug addiction, economic marginalisation, marriage equality, stigma in mental health, direct provision, institutional power, consent, the effects of the Covid19 pandemic on young people and most recently, diverse perspectives in Northern Ireland. The monochrome drawings he creates live with us and against many of us for some time before washing away. They hold a mirror up to the kind of society that we are, whilst asking us individually what kind of society we want to be a part of.
Mark Connolly is the Director of Finance and Support Services with Offaly County Council, with responsibility for Finance, Human Resources, Corporate Services, Risk Management and Information Systems. Mark has over 27 years experience working in various roles in the public and private sectors. Since 2006 Mark has held a number roles in the local authority sector in Limerick and currently Offaly. Mark holds a Batchelor in Business Studies from Trinity College and is a Chartered Management Accountant. He has served as a Director in a previous role.
Linda Dowling, a native of Prosperous, Co. Kildare, has lived and worked in Tullamore for over 40 years. She is a retired primary school principal of St Joseph’s National School, Arden View, Tullamore. Linda has a keen interest in both music and drama, and regularly attends concerts and events around the country. As an educator she believes that it is important to nurture an interest and love of the Arts in young children. She is delighted to be involved in Tullamore Arts Centre and looks forward to enjoying performances there for years to come.
Desmond was born Hamilton, Scotland. He served his apprenticeship as a compositor in a Glasgow printing company called Walter Nash Limited. From 1967 to 1971 he held to role of Technical Advisor with the British Printing Industries Federation, London. After marrying his wife Barbara in 1971, he became Industrial Relations Negotiator with the Society of Master Printers of Scotland, Edinburgh. He later established Doyle Graphics in Tullamore, which specialised in the typesetting of mathematical and scientific books and journals for publishers in America, Netherlands and the UK and ran this until 2001. He has since provided career development courses throughout Ireland, and presented and produced Sunday Brunch with Des Doyle on Midlands 103. He has been Chairman of Tullamore Community Arts Centre Limited since its establishment. #
Cllr Declan Harvey
Declan Harvey has been a Councillor since being first elected Tullamore Town Council in 2009. Born and raised in Healy Street, he is now married to his wife Sandra Harvey and is father to their two children. A painter and decorator by trade. Declan has been passionate about the Arts Centre in Tullamore since being elected, having served on the board of the former Tullamore Community Arts Centre and being heavily involved with Esker Arts Centre at every stage of its development. He has also previously served as Cathaoirleach of Tullamore Municipal District from 2017 – 2018, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council from 2021 – 2022, and is heavily involved in the Tullamore Local Community Development Committee, Tullamore Youth Centre, Accessible Counselling Tullamore, and Tullamore Christmas Lights Committee.
Sharon Kennedy is a Director of Services with Offaly County Council, with responsibility for Housing, Community, Culture, the Arts, Emergency Services and Edenderry Municipal District. Sharon has over 36 years experience working in various roles with a number of Local Authorities in Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and currently Offaly. Sharon holds a BA in Local Government Management and also has qualifications in relation to Health and Safety Management. She has served as Director and Company Secretary in a previous role.
Eugene is a full time writer from Edenderry and wrote the play EDEN which debuted at the Abbey theatre in 2001. He has received the Irish times theatre award, the Stewart Parker award and the Rooney prize for literature. Eugene adapted EDEN for the screen, and the film played many festivals around the world. Eugene also wrote PURE MULE, a six part series for RTE, winner of five IFTA awards and a two part follow up PURE MULE- THE LAST WEEKEND. Other work includes the THE NEST, SLOTH and NUMB (nominated for ZEBBIE AWARD) all for RTE radio drama and an adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy for BBC radio drama. Other work includes film comedy THE FLAG, starring Pat Shortt and co writing credits on famine drama BLACK 47. Eugene’s most recent work was a very successful run of new play HEAVEN at the Dublin theatre festival and a new novel GOING BACK published by Gill in September. TARRAC, a cine 4 Irish language feature film is to be released in 2023.
Cllr Sean O’Brien
Sean is a Member of Tullamore Municipal District Council and Offaly Co. Council. His community activism includes being Secretary of Tullamore St. Patrick's Day Parade, Treasurer of Tullamore Tidy Towns Committee, Secretary of the Irish National Foresters, Secretary of Whitehall/Daingean Road Residents Association, and Tullamore Community Arts Centre. He represents Offaly Co. Council on the Offaly Film Board, the Offaly Joint Policing Committee and the Dublin/Mid Leinster HSE Consultative Forum. He holds a B.A. in European Studies from UL and an MA in Training and Development from University of Sheffield. He worked for many years in Training, Career Coaching and Labour Market Intervention with a number of organisations. Sean is a strong advocate for the arts and he believes that Esker Arts will be a very welcome addition to the development of the arts in many forms. He believes that Esker Arts is the Phoenix rising to herald a new era for the Arts in Tullamore, Offaly and the Midlands.
Sally O’Leary joined Offaly County Council as Arts Officer in 2019, where she is responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of the arts, promoting sustainable growth of arts and culture across the county. She has a PhD in Visual Culture from National College of Art and Design. Sally has worked for many years in the Arts, both within the public and private sectors. Working as Arts Officer in Offaly and South Tipperary, also within the field of Public Art, as Public Art Coordinator for Mayo County Council, editor of Publicart.ie and as curator of the public art programme Gaining Ground for Clare County Council, devising and managing many public art programmes around the country.
Clíodhna Shaffrey is director of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin (TBG+S). She has worked as an independent curator, producing exhibitions, festivals, public commissions, collaborative research projects and writing. She was Visual Arts Advisor to the Arts Council (2011-2014) and has worked across a diverse range of creative work, policy, arts planning and curation. She was part of the TBG+S Curatorial Team with Michael Hill for Niamh O Malley’s ‘Gather’, representing Ireland at the 59th Biennale di Venezia, 2022.
Cllr Danny Owens