DublinTown Visits The Green Gallery
The Green Gallery sits at the top of the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, lighting up the aisle with a mix of paintings of different eras, styles, and artists. We talked to Dermot O’Grady who started the gallery and has been running it for over 21 years.
The Green Gallery has established itself as a permanent figure in the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre serving some of the best art works, hand picked by Dermot himself. Dermot’s eye for the arts has been present to him since he was young:
‘I remember my grand parents were from Dublin Inner City and we use to go to there home in Heytesbury Street for lunch when we were in school. I would always admire their art and all the furniture they had, and I was quite good at art myself in school. I didn’t keep it up as a career until later on as I met my wife and she swept me off my feet and we got married at 23.’
Dermot worked in the Hotel Industry for many years, but his passion for the arts was always present. While working at the Westbury he saw the potential in the mall and jumped at the chance to create his own gallery:
‘I was the first gallery in there. it was so exciting just to experiment with my idea of a gallery and I took it from there. At the same time I was meeting artists who were exhibiting their work outside of Merrion Square, and I brought them in. I moved to George’s Street, and then in December of 1994, I spotted this corridor which was empty at the time. When I saw this space I knew the decision was made – but it was a risk! Being near to Grafton Street was very important to me and Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre is so beautiful. On a blue sky day the sun comes through the glass and lends itself so nicely to the painting and its so open and free.’
It was a risk worth taking, since The Green Gallery has been going strong for over 21 years. When asked about it he beams:
‘It’s a great accomplishment! We have a lot of customers who have been with us since the beginning and they have been coming back after the recession and re-introduce themselves which is fantastic. I also have artists that have been with me since the beginning. So I suppose I must be doing something right!’
Keeping a positive relationship with the customers and the artists is very important to Dermot. He has such a strong passion to represent them and get to know them and their work, creating a positive business from the beginning.
‘I still have a lot of artists from when I first met them in Merrion Square, and within a few weeks of being here in Stephen’s Green, there were artists visiting the gallery. I was really on a high and I was open to everything. I made some great relationships with the artists and a lot of them are still with me today.’
While Dermot expressed love for all the work on display at gallery, there are two artists that he had a bit of a soft spot for when we asked what style he liked:
‘I like the looseness in Elana Mikhailova’s work. There is a horse racing scene painting here and the horses look like they are coming out of the painting at you!
I also love Jim Fitzpatrick’s work as well. Really interesting artist, he doesn’t show in any other places either. He was coming in here for years, and I bumped into him one day, we got talking and he said ‘I love this gallery’. He was doing some new prints and he gave them to me – and he has been with me ever since.’
The area around the Gallery is very important to Dermot and has had a deep connection to him since he was young.
‘The area around here is very important to me. My Father used to work in U.C.D. on Merrion Street when I was a kid. Dad would cycle home every day and maybe pop into O’Donohue’s pub for a wet lunch! Now what I love to do in Dublin is run my business and have a pint! I love music, I play the guitar myself, so I love going to the pub and listening to live music at O’Donohue’s, and Gogarty’s – some great musicians play there too!
Definitely pop down and have a look at their beautiful selection, with works priced as low as ‘ €16 to the sky’ – so there is really something for everyone.