Presidential Printing

I had the honour this year of printing some very special books of Yeats poetry which mark Yeats2015, the year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of William Butler Yeats.

The books were presented to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington DC to mark Saint Patrick’s Day.


U.S. President Barack Obama holds a book of poetry by William Butler Yeats given to him by Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) during their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patricks Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a book of poetry by William Butler Yeats given to him by Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L) during their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patricks Day visit at the White House in Washington March 17 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The commission was brought to me by Senator Susan O’Keeffe, Chair of Yeats2015. Each book is 20 pages and contains a different selection of 12 poems by WB Yeats, set in 12pt Caslon with titles in 18pt Caslon Italic. The selection of poems in each book was chosen by Senator O’Keeffe and Professor Margaret Mills Harper. The intention of Yeats2015 is to commemorate the entire Yeats family – Jack, Elizabeth and Susan and their father John – as well as the Nobel prize winning WB. It is with this in mind that the design of the books is inspired by the publications of the Cuala Press, which was run by the Yeats sisters, also known as Lily & Lolly.

Each book has a unique title page with a personalised dedication. They were printed on Zerkall mould made paper on an Arab treadle press at my workshop in Rathmines, Dublin. They were then bound in goatskin and embellished with gold and blind tooling by Benjamin van de Wetering of the Ox Bindery, based in the Ox Mountains outside Tubbercurry Co. Sligo.

I am currently coming to the end of another project for Yeats2015: a 12 page book of Yeats poetry which contains five poems and two linocuts. This is also quite special but is in a far larger edition of 400. These projects have been supported by Yeats2015, the Western Development Commission, the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and the Design & Craft Council of Ireland. It was while preparing for this larger edition book that Susan began to talk to me about the ‘special books’ and they remained described as such for a number of months before she let me in on the secret of who they were for! It has been a fantastic experience and an honour to design and produce something that is presented on behalf of the country and commemorates the Nobel prize winning poet.


Setting the dedication page

Here are some links to more media reports on the book:

There is a video about the making of the book which forms part of this article on The Independent’s website. The video was produced by BigOMedia who visited me in my workshop and then travelled to Sligo and filmed in The Ox Bindery:

and a photo gallery of their meeting including an image of President Obama with the book

Exquisite Editions

I’m delighted to have been invited to exhibit at the National Print Museum as part of this beautiful exhibition ‘Exquisite Editions’.

25 books from Irish and International Fine Presses have been selected by the shows curator, Jamie Murphy of The Salvage Press. All are printed letterpress, in limited edition and I’m honoured to have my book ‘Eveline’ included in their company. The exhibition is beautifully presented and the first time some of these books will have graced our shores so well worth a trip.

It is open daily in the National Print Museum and continues until 18 April.


An International Exhibition of Finely Printed Books

For the first time in Ireland, this exhibition brings together 25 outstanding books from the world’s leading contemporary fine press printers. All the books are letterpress printed in limited editions and many have been illustrated through a variety of means including wood engraving, woodcut, linoleum and other fine art processes. Exhibiting alongside the work of several Irish presses will be books from the UK, USA, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands.

4 March – 18 April 2015

Free Admission

See here for an article about the exhibition in the Irish Times 21 March 2015 :

Setting & Printing for Tim Goulding


Tim Goulding has been coming to Graphic Studio Dublin as a visiting artist since the 1960s and recently made a beautiful set of six prints there that form part of his current exhibition at the Taylor Galleries, Kildare Street.

While working in the studio last year Tim asked me to set and print some of his poetry to accompany the prints he was making. Apart from being a fabulous artist and member of Aosdána, Tim is also a musician and poet and wanted to include some of his poetry with his recent prints for ‘Patching the Void’.

This January I had the pleasure of setting six of his poems in some lovely freshly cast Centaur from the Whittington Press. Each poem was printed alongside a multi plate etching on a sheet of Zerkall German Etch. It was a pleasure to work with Robert Russell & Siobhan Hyde who editioned the etchings and a great learning experience as we got the rollers on the Farley galley press back in action.

Each etching is printed in an edition of 30 with the first 13 of each edition including the poem. A boxed set of the six prints & poems is presented in a beautiful black cloth-covered clamshell box made in Cork by Barbara Hubert Bookbinders.

It is a really wonderful exhibition and I’m delighted to have been involved.

The exhibition continues until 7 March.


National Print Museum Winter Fair

christmas posters

I’m back at the National Print Museum Winter Fair this year and I also have a card in their Christmas Card exhibition ‘Making a Festive Impression’.  I’ll have a selection of prints and posters as well as letterpress printed Christmas cards and gifts.

It is a lovely event and something I look forward to each year!

Come along for some festive atmosphere, get some Christmas shopping done and treat yourself to some mulled wine and goodies from their on-site cafe Press.



National Print Museum
28, 29 and 30 November

Now in its fourth year, the National Print Museum’s Fair returns! The mezzanine level of the museum will transform into a winter wonderland with market stalls selling all sorts of unique Christmas gifts.

Families can enjoy arts and crafts activities at our Education Area and print their own Santa letter on the Farley Proofing Press.
The onsite café Press will be open and serving tasty, seasonal treats.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to view ‘Making a Festive Impression’, an exhibition of hand-printed Christmas cards on loan from private collections. This seasonal exhibition will showcase some new designs by contemporary designers using the medium of letterpress. Some original limited edition cards will be for sale, so visitors can start their very own collections!

Opening hours:

Friday                    16.00 – 20.00

Saturday              11.00 – 16.00

Sunday                 11.00 – 16.00

Free Admission.

National Print Museum, Beggars Bush Barracks, Haddington Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
For more information, please call 01 6603770 or email

Dublin Art Book Fair

The Dublin Art Book Fair takes place in Temple Bar Gallery + Studios this weekend and my book ‘Eveline’ will be on the artists books table. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see artists books from all over Ireland and further afield.  The fair opens Thursday 6-8, Friday/Saturday 11-6 and Sunday 1-6.

There are a number of talks and other events taking place as part of the fair and details of these can found on their website:

And while you’re in Temple Bar take a look in Graphic Studio Gallery where Louise Leonard & Jean Bardon are exhibiting new works!
Graphic Studio Gallery

Dublin Art Book Fair


Graphic Studio Gallery will be at VUE art fair this weekend at the RHA. I’ll be there myself on Saturday afternoon and I’m delighted my book ‘Eveline’ will form part of the GSG display. Other galleries taking part include Taylor Galleries, Peppercanister Gallery, Jorgensen Fine Art, Fenderesky Gallery, Oliver Sears Gallery, Hilsboro Fine Art, SO Fine Art, Molesworth Gallery, Stoney Road Press, Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Green on Red, Eight Art Gallery, Cross Gallery, Solomon Fine Art, Catherine Hammond Gallery, James Wray Gallery, Olivier Cornet Gallery, Claremorris Art Gallery and Irish Arts Review.

VUE opens tonight, Thursday 30th Oct at 6–8pm and continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11–6.

The RHA is also hosting the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s annual PORTFOLIO exhibition this weekend making it the on-stop-shop for the best of Irish Art and Design. 


Before the new red houses

Before the new red houses

Letterpress Courses

I will be teaching a number of courses in letterpress over the coming months. These include both one day short courses in Graphic Studio Dublin and ten and eleven week evening courses in Distillers Press at the National College of Art & Design.

Saturday 20 September – one day beginners course in Graphic Studio Dublin.
Tuesday 23 September – eleven week evening course in Distillers Press, NCAD.
Sat 22 & Sun 23 November – two day Christmas Card course in Graphic Studio Dublin.
Tuesday 6th January 2015 – ten week evening course in Distillers Press, NCAD.

The details of each course are outlined below with details of how to book:


metal paragraph


Short Courses in Graphic Studio Dublin

Please note there is a minimum requirement of 4 participants, if not reached course is subject to cancellation. A full refund will be issued in this event.

The full range of Graphic Studio courses can be viewed and booked online here

Date: Saturday 20 September, 10am – 4pm.
6 participants

Suitable for beginners and intermediate.
Students will learn how to set and print a small paragraph using letterpress.


Christmas Card
Dates: Saturday & Sunday 22 & 23 November, 10am – 4pm.
6 participants

Suitable for beginners and intermediate.
Students will learn how to make a celebratory or invitation card using both letterpress and linocut. The first day will be spent typesetting and printing the cards. During the second day the image will be cut and added to make a finished piece in a short edition.




Longer Courses in Distillers Press

Distillers Press Courses are administrated by CEAD, the Continuing Education Department in NCAD. Bookings are taken by CEAD and the application form and full information can be found in their brochure. Applications for courses are accepted from August 1st until September 4th 2014 thereafter you can check with the office administrator to establish places left on courses. As with the courses in Graphic Studio, there is a minimum requirement of participants needed to run the course and a full refund will be issued if the course cannot proceed. 

Click here to download CEAD brochure


V/C 508 Letterpress Printing – INTRODUCTORY

From 23 September 2014
Course Fee €315
Tuesday (Semester I), 6.30–9pm
8 Students

This course will cover the basic techniques of letterpress printing: type setting with metal and wood type, locking up for print, registration, lino cut, multiple colour relief printing and producing short editions using a proofing press. The eleven week programme, offers a fantastic opportunity to gain access to Distillers Press, the only working letterpress facility in third level education in Ireland. Those with experience in graphic design / typography / print may find the course particularly interesting but prior knowledge of design is not required. The course will begin with an induction to the workshop, an overview of letterpress printing with examples of artists’ & designers’ work, an explanation of hand setting and an introduction to the use of the press. A number of short projects will follow, to explain the processes and then participants will be encouraged to create their own work under supervision. This can take the form of small editions of prints, posters, simple books, cards or stationery. The course will provide an excellent overview of the processes and materials involved in letterpress printing. A certain amount of quality paper will be provided to begin the course and then additional sheets may be purchased as it progresses.
Course duration: 11 weeks


V/C 509 Letterpress Printing – INTERMEDIATE

From 6 January 2015
Course Fee €295
Tuesday (Semester II), 6.30–9pm
8 Students

This ten week course is aimed at those who have completed the introductory course or have experience with setting metal and wooden type. Those individuals with a background in graphic design / typography / print / literature may find this course particularly interesting. This course offers an opportunity to access the Distillers Press and its fantastic collection of over 500 cases of wood and metal type. Participants will build on the basic techniques of hand setting and with tutor guidance, undertake research and work on one large project or set of small projects. This limited edition could take the form of prints, posters, booklets or cards and can involve typography or illustration or a combination of both.

Projects will be suggested but participants will also be encouraged to research and develop individual work under supervision. As well as typography-based projects, participants can make use of other relief methods such as printing from lino cut and digitally designed plates, as well as printing with multiple colours and hand inking.

The course will provide an excellent overview of the processes and materials involved in letterpress printing and offers the participant a chance to develop a larger project over time. Participants can research their own paper stocks or suitable sheets may be purchased from Distillers Press as the course progresses. An archive of previous work made in Distillers Press may be viewed on the website
Course duration: 10 weeks


wood type

RHA Annual Exhibition

I was delighted to hear that one of my prints has been selected for exhibition in the RHA Annual Exhibition this year.

DSC_0306 copy

‘Watching the evening invade the avenue’ is one of six images in my limited edition book ‘Eveline’ based on the short story from James Joyce’s Dubliners. It is a two colour reductive linocut and was printed on Zerkall paper in an edition of 20 prints. The image depicts Eveline, at the beginning of the story, weighing up her choices of running away with her lover or staying at home as her mother would have wished. You can read more about the book here.

This is the 184th Annual Exhibition and will take place in the RHA Gallagher Gallery, Ely Place from May 26 to August 17. You can visit their website for further details and opening hours nearer the date.

It’s very exciting to be selected for such a prestigious exhibition and I’m already looking forward to Varnishing Day!

Six Linocuts

DSC_0304 copy

DSC_0261 copy

If ever you go…

‘If Ever You Go – a map of Dublin in Poetry and Song’ is the book chosen for the One City One Book celebrations this year. Edited by Pat Boran and Gerard Smyth it contains a wide selection of poems and lyrics that, in some way or other, pay homage to different areas and streets about Dublin.

Following on from last year’s very successful day for Strumpet City, I’ll be back in the National Print Museum on April 27th as part of their One City One Book Event.  There will be readings from the book in the morning, a talk by the editor Gerard Smyth in the afternoon and print demos from me and some of the retired printers and volunteers throughout the day.

To promote and mark the event I printed a limited edition letterpress and linocut print.  A gradient of blues is covered by a silhouette of Patrick Kavanagh by the canal, and the title of the book (from the opening line of his poem ‘If ever you go to Dublin Town’) overprinted in an italic Caslon.

The print is on sale from the Print Museum shop and is limited to 35 copies.

For more information on the event visit the National Print Museum website: