Letterpress Courses 2017

I’ll be teaching a selection of short and long courses over the next few months.  I’ll update this page with further details of dates and times as they become available. Please use the links below to read more about each course; all can be booked online through the relevant website.

September 2017

Introduction to Letterpress on the Adana table top press, one day course – National Print Museum (SOLD OUT) www.nationalprintmuseum.ie

Beginners: Eleven Week Evening Course in Distillers Press, NCAD is held on a Wednesday evening, from 6.30pm to 9pm. V/C 508. Beginning 20 September. National College of Art & Design, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8.
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 best 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.  www.ncad.ie/continuing-education/cead-apply



October 2017

Experimental Letterpress, one day course – National Print Museum


November 2017

Letterpress Christmas Cards, one day course – National Print Museum
(SOLD OUT) www.nationalprintmuseum.ie


December 2017

Lino cut & Letterpress Christmas Cards, Weekend Workshop – Graphic Studio Dublin
Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 December, 10am to 4pm each day.
Graphic Studio Dublin, Distillery Court, 537 North Circular Road, Dublin 1.
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, and during the second day the image will be cut in lino and added to make a finished piece. Each participant should complete approximately 10 cards.


January 2018

Intermediate: Ten Week Evening Course in Distillers Press, NCAD is held on a Wednesday evening, from 6.30pm to 9pm.  V/C 509
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, 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.

Exhibitions Summer 2016

This Summer I am delighted to be taking part in three exhibitions in Dublin and Galway.

Graphic Studio Dublin
The Summer Exhibition of new prints by Members and Visiting Artists opens in Graphic Studio Dublin on Saturday 9th July at 2pm and continues until 31st August.

Gallery Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 10am – 5.30pm
Saturday: 11am – 5pm
Closed Sunday and Monday
Link: Graphic Studio Dublin

Olivier Cornet Gallery
‘Republic’ opens on Sunday 10th July at 3pm and continues until 28th August.
Gallerist Olivier Cornet has invited one of his artists, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, to co-curate a show to commemorate those who died in the struggle for Irish freedom. The group exhibition titled ‘Republic’ will also be a meditation on the goals of the “Proclamation of the Irish Republic” and how or whether the artists think that these goals have been fulfilled.
The exhibition includes work from Gallery artists Claire Halpin, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Yanny Petters, Kelly Ratchford and invited artists David Fox, Beatrice O’Connell, John O’Grady, Eve Parnell, Mary Plunkett and Lorcan Walshe.

Gallery Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 11am to 6pm (until 8pm on Thursdays).
and all weekend: 12 noon to 5pm on Saturday & Sunday.
Closed on Mondays (or viewing by appointment only)
Link: Olivier Cornet Gallery

Selected Poetry of Joseph Mary Plunkett and George Noble Count Plunkett

Selected Poetry of Joseph Mary Plunkett and George Noble Count Plunkett

Galway Print Studio and Graphic Studio Dublin
Galway Print Studio have Graphic Studio Dublin to join them in a joint exhibition to be held at the Connacht Tribune Gallery in August. The exhibition opens 15th August and concludes on the 28th.
Link: Galway Print Studio


Selected Poetry of Joseph Mary Plunkett & George Noble Count Plunkett

To commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising I have produced a limited edition book of selected poetry of my grand uncle Joseph Mary Plunkett and that of his father, George Noble Count Plunkett.


Photo Courtesy of Duffy Bookbinders

This latest book was launched on 5 May as part of a three person show with Siobhan Hyde and Caroline Bond at Graphic Studio Gallery. The launch coincided with the centenary of the execution of Joseph Plunkett on 4 May 1916 for his role in the organising of the Rising and as one of the signatories of the Proclamation. His father was Director of the National Museum at the time and held in high esteem for his knowledge of Renaissance art.

The book includes 9 original linocuts with the text of 22 poems set by hand and printed letterpress. It is a double-sided book with a 12 page section of 8 poems by Count Plunkett opening from one side and a 16 page section with 14 poems by Joseph Plunkett opening from the other. It is quarter bound with linocuts depicting the two poets and presented in a cloth covered slip case with a blind deboss of each of the poet’s signatures. The binding has been completed by Tom Duffy of Duffy Bookbinders.

The linocuts depict the poets themselves, some of their family and objects. Joe is pictured with his brother George whose son Seóirse is depicted in another image reading his uncles poetry; Joe’s desk; a painting that the Count bought for his 21st birthday; a suggestion of the Counts book collection; his chair.

The page size is 26.5cm x 38cm and the book is approx 30cm x 40cm x 1.5cm in the slip case.

The book has been printed in an edition of 50, the first 10 of which, deluxe, are presented in a larger slip case with an additional portfolio of three prints from the book.

The text has been set by hand in 18pt Caslon with titles in 22pt small caps. The 7 linocuts within the book are reductive two colour prints and the 2 linos used for the covers are a single colour print. Printing was completed at my workshop, The Belgrave Private Press, on a Recaro proofing press.

The 9 linocuts are also available as prints in an edition of 20. There are also two broadsides of a linocut presented with poetry. I See His Blood Upon the Rose, is presented with the poem, To Grace, by Joseph Plunkett and the linocut of Joe’s desk; the other, The Shining Woman by Count Plunkett, is presented with a linocut of the two poets.

All prints are books are available for viewing and purchase in Graphic Studio Gallery, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

Below are some images of the opening night at the gallery. We were delighted with the crowd that arrived on the night and thanks to all who attended. Seán Sills of the National Print Museum and formerly of Distillers Press, NCAD opened the show for us with a well researched and very complimentary speech which delighted all in attendance. The show continues until 28th May. 

Siobhan Hyde
Caroline Bond
Graphic Studio Gallery
Duffy Bookbinders

Creating the Manifesto

This Easter I’ll be involved in a very interesting project between the dlr LexIcon and the National Print Museum. Have a look at the description and the link below: Spaces available!

wood setting

Creating the Manifesto
Led by Clare Bell, Nathan O’Donnell & Mary Plunkett

Over four days during Easter 2016 (29 March – 1 April), participants will devise and write personal manifestos at the dlr LexIcon, Dun Laoghaire, and then use these texts to design and print letterpress posters at the National Print Museum, Beggars Bush, Dublin 4.

This is an active, practical and fun 4 day project incorporating creative writing, design and print, during which participants will also find out about historical manifestos, including the 1916 Proclamation.

The project is free and open to those aged 16-20 yrs.

See more at: http://libraries.dlrcoco.ie/events-and-news/library-blog/creating-manifesto-project


Three Yeats Books

This set of three books of William Butler Yeats’ poetry were designed and printed towards the end of 2015, the year which celebrated the 150th anniversary of Yeats’ birth. I had the opportunity to work with Yeats’ poetry for a number of projects during the year but wanted to take the chance to make my own books.

Each book contains one longer poem on which a three page fold-out linocut is based, as well as a selection of four or five shorter poems. The linocuts for each were exhibited earlier in the year with the Hamilton Gallery offsite at the Hawk’s Well Theatre as part of my exhibition, ‘Words and Fragments’. The linocuts had always been planned with these particular poems in mind and to fold down to fit within the books.

They were set in 18 point Caslon and printed on 170gsm Somerset Book on the Arab treadle press at my workshop. The accompanying fold out linocuts were inked by hand and printed on 250gsm Somerset Velvet using the Farley proofing press in Graphic Studio Dublin. They have been printed in an edition of 50, the first 20 of which (deluxe) are quarter bound in cloth with a printed cover and contain a three plate linocut. The other 30 (standard) are bound in Hahnemuhle Bugra Butten paper with a single colour linocut. A set of the deluxe is presented in a slip case. The deluxe binding was undertaken by Duffy Bookbinders. The bound size is approximately 17cm x 24 cm.

The three books and their contents are:
Wild Swans at Coole
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
When you are old
A Coat
The White Birds

Sailing to Byzantium
The Choice
No Second Troy
Red Hanrahan’s Song about Ireland

The Song of Wandering Aengus
Down by the Salley Gardens
Who Goes with Fergus
An Irish Airman Foresees his Death
The Lake Isle of Innisfree

The books were launched at the Winter Fair at the National Print Museum at the end of November and I was delighted with the very complimentary responses I received.

The three plate linocuts have also been printed in editions of 50 and are available in the Hamilton Gallery in Sligo and Graphic Studio Gallery in Dublin.

Book prices:
The deluxe are priced at €85 or €250 for the set of three. The standard paper covered are priced at €45. Please contact me directly for sales!


The Mountain Ash



This broadside was commissioned by the poet Joan McBreen and published by Artisan House Editions, based in Letterfrack, Co.Galway.

Artisan House, run by Mary Ruddy & Vincent Murphy, asked me to design and set the text of the poem, The Mountain Ash, to accompany an etching by the artist Margaret Irwin West. The finished broadside was launched to a great response at the Clifden Arts Festival on the 19th September by the poet Des Kavanagh.

It was a pleasure to work with Mo Irwin. We had a number of discussions by phone about how the etching and text would work together and the logistical details of the two printmaking methods. Mary and Vincent oversaw everything, keeping in great contact with Joan, Mo and myself.

The broadside was produced in a limited edition of 150 copies. Mo’s etching of a Rowan tree with detail of the leaves is presented beside the text of the poem set in 18pt Caslon Old Face. Mo printed each copy of her etching herself on her press at her home outside Clifden, Co Galway. I then set the text of The Mountain Ash at The Belgrave Private Press and printed it on the large Farley proofing press at Graphic Studio Dublin. The typeface chosen was Caslon, in part due to Joan’s affection for the broadsides of the Cuala Press printed by Elizabeth Yeats and featuring the images of Jack Yeats. The broadside was printed on BFK Rives grey paper which gives a great richness to the final piece. In advance of the launch, 30 copies were framed in a waxed ash by local framer Pete Coneally and the remaining copies are presented in a cloth bound folder.

It was a great project to be involved with and I’m delighted with the final piece. It is available from Artisan House Editions www.artisanhouse.ie

It was my first time at Clifden Arts Festival and I was sorry I couldn’t stay longer. The “singing in the bookies” evening sounded particularly entertaining!

Upcoming Letterpress Courses 2015

Here are some details of letterpress courses I’m teaching this June & July in Distillers Press and The National Print Museum. I’m a bit late advertising as the one day course in the National Print museum has already booked out but do keep an eye on their website for future courses.

Distillers Press, NCAD
Three Day Course, Monday 29th June to Wednesday 1st July, 10am to 4pm each day

Designed for beginners or those with some knowledge of typography, graphic design or relief printing, this new course offers a fantastic opportunity to gain access to the Distillers Press, the only working letterpress facility in third level education in Ireland. 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. Following the first day’s introduction participants will cover two-colour printing and the use of wood and metal type to create their own work under supervision. This may take the form of prints, posters, simple books, cards or stationery, printed in a small run. 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 but additional sheets may be purchased during the course if needed. Max. 8 people.

Book with CEAD, Continuing Education at NCAD: www.ncad.ie/continuing-education/prospectus/

The timetable of Summer courses being offered in 2015 along with the application form is now available here: www.ncad.ie/files/cead_files/CEAD_Summer_2015.pdf

Full descriptions of the courses can be found in the brochure Summer 2015:

National Print Museum
5th July, 10.30am – 4.30pm

This course will introduce people to letterpress printing, specifically using the Vandercook proofing press. After an introduction to the typecase and instruction on how to set type, each participant will set their own piece of text using metal and/or wood type. Each participant should prepare a short quote, saying or excerpt of prose or poetry that they would like to set and print. The result will be a card or small print in a short edition.

metal paragraph

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 : www.irishtimes.com