Social Conscious Art

I would like to give back to the community by producing some original art works free of charge to an appropriate person or organisation. I feel that sometimes it is not enough to have 'art for art sake' or have art for an individual patrons interest,  sometimes art should record the reality of time to direct social awareness to merge art and journalism.

With this in mind I have two projects that I have painted under this umbrella, both of which I feel passionately about namely, the Mother and Baby Homes and Úna Taaffe.

Mother and Baby Homes

Some 56,000 unmarried mothers and 57,00 children passed through the Mother and Baby Homes, a recent report on the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes bring Ireland face to face with its cold and callous past. The report reveals stories of cruelty, emotional abuse and soaring infant death rates in a series of State and religious run institutions.

My painting was inspired by a trip I took to Tuam in August 2018, but I only recently completed it. I would like it to donate it to a person or an organisation who is deserving of it. I have also asked the public for suggestions in the naming of this painting. If you can help me to do this, please contact me by email.

Geraldine Kilmartin Artist - Tuam Mother and Baby Home


The Úna Taaffe Triptych

Every town has a larger than life colourful character, and for years Galway had the iconic Úna. Úna was born into a wealthy well-respected merchant family in Williams Street were for many years her family and later just herself ran her a highly successful drapery.

She was regarded as one of the most beautiful women of the day with equally great business acumen. Photographs from her youth portray a vivacious beauty donned in expensive clothing, elegant hats and fur stoles. She was an animated woman with a vibrant social life. It was believed that her family in the 1960s had an open-top sports car, went boating and that Úna played tennis is courts behind her shop in the heart of the city centre.

She became known by locals and tourists alike throughout the world for her sale of locally produced Aran jumpers and other woollen products. She sourced her products from local producers in the Aran Islands and throughout Connemara and shipped worldwide with their distinctive original aroma!  

She quickly became one of Galway's great characters and she smashed stereotypes as an astute business leader and a compassionate humanitarian, it is said she purchased caravans from her own funds to house those down on their luck.

Later in life, as new consumerism succeeded old ways of business, troubled by mental health and social isolation, she publicly descended into eccentricity. As she aged her life became increasingly eccentric, she would walk the streets with her trademark red lipstick, black dress & hanging glasses, shouting after her many ferule dogs. As her family and social circle diminished and she relied on her many stray dogs as her new friends. They followed her up and down the often packed streets, snarling and barking and she could often be heard before she was seen coming to the crowd walking up Shop Street. She loved and cared for the dogs and they were allowed into the shop often to the bemusement of the many tourists and customers alike.

In 2019, stories of Úna were recounted in a much-acclaimed show in the Mick Lally Theatre as part of the Galway Theatre Festival: "Are you right there Úna?”.

I feel as the years go by since her demise in 2006 that Úna is being forgotten and I would passionately love to see her remembered in her native Galway as she should be. To my knowledge and sadness, she is currently not remembered in Galway through the arts. She was Galway’s Molloy Malone and deserves to be remembered. I would love to see my three paintings of Úna to be featured in some small way publicly. I feel she deserves to be remembered and from what I remember of Úna, she would love it, if you can help me to do this please contact me by email.

Úna, taking it all in!


Úna, in her Heyday! 


 Úna and her pooches!