Liam O’Neill was born in West Kerry in 1954
His art comes from his own place. He paints his own people.
He tells his own story.
I ‘paint,’ Liam says, ‘that which makes Corca Dhuibhne unique.
Mount Brandon, Cuas, Dúinín,
The Three Sisters, Dunmore Head,The Blaskets.
I paint my father and his way of life.’ A life that hadn’t changed through the
generations.That life was still the same when Liam was
growing up there.The Blasket Islander Tomás ó Croimhthain
opened the door for us’ says Liam . He was a fisherman, farmer but also a
writer.He gave us permission to write or paint our own story.
He said that this story needed to be told, “‘Ni bheidh ár leithéidí aríst ann.
For the like of us will never be again.
Liam O’Neill is a native Irish speaker from Corca Dhuibhne
Like Tomás ÓCroimhthain, his background is fishing and farming.His father and both grandfather’s were all
fisherman.They fished the Atlantic off the West Coast of Kerry.
They used the Naomhog , a canvas covered canoe to fish for mackerel and pollack. The rest of the time they worked in the
fields.Saving the hay, oats and barley. Cutting and drying the turf. Planting and harvesting potatoes.
As a boy growing up in West Kerry, Liam had to do all the same work as his people before him.
Liam fished in a Naomhog with his cousins.
They all had to help in the fields as part of the ‘Meitheal.
That’s when the neighbours got together to make sure the crops were saved before
the weather broke.These neighbours would also go to sea in the Naomhog and share the catch. That’s how they survived.
‘Ar scath a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.” It’s in each other shade that people survive.
Liam left West Kerry to be a teacher in Dublin.
He taught himself to paint with the pallette
He returned back home after thirty years and settled again in Corca Dhuibhne.
If Liam O’Neill’s paintings could talk, they would speak Irish.
In the past forty years he’s had numerous one person shows in Ireland and abroad. Dingle