Art and Culture in and around Easkey, in Co. Sligo

Easkey has a strong cultural and literary tradition with a number of famous people having either been born there or having ancestral links with the area.

Jack Harte

Irish writer and novelist, Jack Harte, was born in Killeenduff, near Easkey where his father was the local blacksmith. His early years were spent growing up in the area but moved to the midlands when he was nine years old as his father was forced to leave in search of work.

County Sligo forms the basis for one of his great novels 'In the Wake of the Bagger'. Another novel, 'Reflections in a Tar Barrel' is also set in the area and Jack Harte draws on Easkey, its people and mythologies, in many of his evocative short stories.

Jack Harte established the Irish Writers' Union in January 1987 and was instrumental in establishing the Irish Writers' Centre in Dublin in 1991.

Fred Conlon

Irish sculptor Fred Conlon (1943–2005) was born and grew up in Killeenduff, Easkey. Conlon and Jack Harte were born ten months apart, within 50 metres of one another in Killeenduff.

They were cousins and close friends until Conlon's death in 2005. Jack Harte wrote an account of Conlon's life, 'Unravelling the Spiral - The Life and Work of Fred Conlon'. The book is illustrated with photographs of Conlon’s work and Harte warmly tells the remarkable story of Conlon's life and furnishes a unique insight into his ideas and inspiration.

Fred Conlon was a sculpture Associate of the National College of Art and Design for many years, eventually returning to Sligo in 1972 where he taught at Sligo Vocational School for a year before becoming a Lecturer at the Sligo Regional Technical College (now GMIT Sligo), where he helped to develop a diploma course in Art.

For the next sixteen years he lectured in sculpture and drawing there until his early retirement 1989. He worked full-time as a professional sculptor until early 2004 when he fell ill. Conlon worked in stone, creating large abstract forms and his works include Millennium Garden Sculpture at Lucan Community College.

He exhibited with Independent Artists, Oireachtas, the Royal Hibernian Academy and Sculpture in context. The Fred Conlon Contemporary Sculpture Award has been established by Sligo County Council under the Sligo Arts Plan to honour the late sculptor.

William Morris Meredith

American poet William Morris Meredith, Jr, the 1988 Pulitzer Prize winner was a long time admirer of the Irish poet W B Yeats, and in the summer of 2006 fulfilled a long-time ambition of visiting Yeats's spiritual homeplace of Sligo, Ireland.

He resided in the Easkey area during his visit and attended the renowned Yeats International Summer School, which attracts many academics and admirers of Yeats to Sligo every summer.

Easkey Sculpture

Beside, Easkey House, at the kiosk, there is a sculpture called "The Time of Day", erected in the late 1980s. It is a sculpture by local artist, Cillian Rodgers, of two men, one leaning on his bicycle and the other sitting down looking in the opposite direction.

It conveys the sense of rural-life in the area, where locals meet and discuss the trivial and not-so-trivial events of life.