News & Events

Minister Nash launches exhibition marking the Celebrate Your Local Design Hero initiative as part of Irish Design 2015

Libraries across Ireland celebrates Irish design and designers through programme of events and activities

Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash TD today launched an exhibition at Dundalk Library to mark the Celebrate Your Local Design Hero initiative at libraries across Ireland. 

The exhibition, which has been organised in partnership with Louth County Library, is one of a series of events being hosted this year by local libraries throughout the island of Ireland. As part of Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), the year long government backed initiative promoting and celebrating Irish design in Ireland and internationally, libraries across the country were invited to celebrate a local design hero through organising a community event or workshop. 

Launched with the aim of working within local communities to raise the profile of both contemporary Irish design and Ireland’s rich heritage in design and craftsmanship, the Celebrate Your Local Design Hero initiative has connected designers and local libraries in devising events and exhibitions to engage communities across Ireland. 

Minister Nash said: “The aim of ID2015 is to promote the wealth of design talent we have here in Ireland both at home and on the international stage and to highlight the significant impact that design makes to our economy and our culture. Many Irish designers and makers are achieving recognition and winning prestigious awards internationally, growing Ireland’s reputation abroad as a home for innovative design across a broad range of disciplines. The Celebrate Your Local Design Hero allows us to honour them here at home where communities can take pride in the talent that has emerged from their local area.” 

In addition to recognising contemporary designers, the programme of events and exhibitions has also raised awareness of designers from the past. Libraries in Clare celebrated the life of Liscannor-native John Philip Holland (1841 – 1914), the inventor of the modern submarine and the first person commissioned to design submarines for both the British Navy and US Army. Waterford City Library celebrated Miroslav Havel (1922 – 2008) who came to Ireland in 1947 as the first employee of the newly established Waterford Crystal and hosted talks and an exhibition of personal glasswork from the family archives being shown for the first time. 

The exhibition at Dundalk Library celebrates award winning fashion designer Niamh O’Neill from Dunleer, Co. Louth. Entitled Design Actualised, the exhibition takes visitors through the journey of creating an outfit from a fashion designer's collection. It describes the design process from the initial concept, right through to the finished garment. It documents the whole process, including sketching the designs, choosing fabrics, organising manufacturing and it even accounts for all the air miles it takes to produce the garment.

Niamh O’Neill said: "I am honoured to be part of the Local Design Hero project for Irish Design 2015. I hope to give people a glimpse into the design process of an outfit from my collection, from the initial concept to realising the design in the form of a finished product. I am also delighted to be exhibiting in my local library, Louth County Library, which is an invaluable resource in our community.” 

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of Irish Design 2015 said: “I would like to thank the library network for their enthusiast involvement in the Irish Design 2015 programme. By the end of the year, we will have seen over 30 libraries throughout the island of Ireland participate in our year long programme by hosting a funded event to celebrate a design hero from their own area. The initiative has received a fantastic response from the public and been instrumental in raising awareness of designs and designers past and present that have emerged from all over Ireland, allowing us to celebrate the contribution that design makes to our everyday lives and our country as a whole.” 

Other library events in October include Phibsborogh Library hosting a workshop exploring origami techniques and the use of other materials to create garden designs, inspired by the work of garden designer, Diarmuid Gavin and Pearse Street Library hosting a workshop exploring Irish theatre costume and stage design where participants can create pop up theatre designs inspired by the work of set designer, illustrator and painter, Jack B. Yeats. 

Later in the year, Monaghan Library will host an exhibition of work by renowned hand weaver Liz Christy, with an accompanying series of workshops. Tuam Library will celebrate local fashion designer Joanne Hynes who was a regular user of the library as a child. Cork City Libraries plan to host a photographic exhibition of the work of internationally renowned furniture designer Joseph Walsh who is based in Riverstick. Longford Library will focus on local milliners Louise Knight and Patricia Cox with an exhibition and series of workshops. 


For further press information, please contact DJEI Press Office on 01 631 2200 or 

Notes to editors:  

About Irish Design 2015:

Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) is a year-long initiative backed by the Irish government exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design throughout Ireland and internationally in order to drive job creation, grow exports and increase competitiveness. The programme for the year includes presenting the work of Irish designers at high profile events in design capitals including London, Paris, Eindhoven, Milan, New York, Chicago and Hong Kong/Shenzhen. ID2015 is being convened by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), in collaboration with partner organisations, on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland. ID2015 partners include Founding Partners – MCO Projects; Accommodation Partners – The Doyle Collection; Venue Partners – OPW; Exhibition Partners – DAA; Technology Partners – IBM; Transport Partners – Bus Éireann Expressway and Construction Partners – Sisk. 

About the All Island Library Initiative - Celebrate your local Design Hero:

As part of Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), libraries throughout Ireland were invited to celebrate a local design hero through organising a community event or workshop of their choice. The initiative was established with the aim of working within local communities to raise the profile of Irish design and to open up the riches of the Irish design heritage to the wider public. The call out from ID2015 to libraries across Ireland has initiated connections between designers and local libraries, and it is hoped that this will lead to further local collaborations. ID2015 aims to support local libraries in their goal to be living spaces where people can meet and which support and facilitate creativity. In working with local libraries, ID2015 is providing practical examples of innovative delivery and cooperation with local communities outside larger urban areas. 

About Niamh O’Neill:

Niamh O'Neill graduated from NCAD, Dublin, in 2008 with first class honours. Having worked at some of the top international fashion houses in New York and Paris, she launched her eponymous womenswear label in Winter 2012. The following year she scooped the Irish Fashion Designer of the Year award at the prestigious Irish Fashion Innovation Awards. Niamh's collections combine clean lines and contemporary cutting with luxurious fabrics, creating an instantly identifiable look of understated elegance. Niamh, who was a national finalist in ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2014’ competition, has big plans for the expansion of her label. Niamh showed her Spring/Summer 2016 collection for the first time at London Fashion Week in September. She is also introducing a capsule cashmere collection to complement the womenswear range and international buyers are already taking note.