Belmond, one of IIBN's Global Sponsors, reveals its first curated art collection “Inspirations of Ireland”, on board Belmond Grand Hibernian, Ireland’s only luxury sleeper train. The collection provides a unique perspective on the Republic and Northern Ireland’s rich heritage, contemporary culture and dramatic scenery, through a series of evocative artwork celebrating the island’s wealth of creative talent.
Belmond’s art collection is curated by Belfast-born international art consultant Katie Kennedy Perez who has brought together both emerging and prominent artists, selected for their personal and often surprising view of Ireland and its landscapes.
Calling on her decade of experience, connections in the art world and knowledge of the destination, she explains, “It was important that the artworks have a strong sense of place, tell an interesting story and offer the guest an elevated understanding of the destination. I was delighted to be able to source artists from the rich pool of Irish talent that exists and showcase Ireland’s contemporary culture in such a unique way.”
Together, the diverse collection of photographs, oil paintings and water colours aim to enhance the emotional connection between guest, journey and destination. Care has been taken to ensure the artworks help to ‘bring the outside in’ and perfectly complements the train’s interior design inspired by the island’s flora and fauna.
Some works take a magnifying glass to the dramatic scenery that can be seen along route. The series of analogue photographs by Samuel Laurence Cunnane depict unusual plants in extraordinary light and detail that can only be found in his home County of Kerry where the train visits. Amelia Stein’s black and white photographic ‘The Palm House Series’, which took two years to complete, captures exotic vegetation in the Victorian structure of the Glass House in the National Botanical Gardens in Dublin; the city from which the train departs.
Celebrated contemporary Irish artist Mick O’Dea paints landscapes from around his home at Portacloy on the north coast of County Mayo by positioning his easel close to nature as the weather causes the colours to evolve. Guests can experience some of these dramatic ever-changing landscapes as the train passes through County Mayo.
Dorothy Cross transports guests to unexpected places and Ireland’s hidden natural wonders with her striking ‘Wormhole I-VI’ photographic series. Based on a geographical phenomenon that can only be accessed by foot on the island of Inis MÓr, she has photographed a rectangular water basin measuring 10 by 25 metres that is created by natural erosion.
Belfast-born Laurence Riddell’s oil painting Moon Cactus (III), which shows a blurred horse galloping, is inspired by Ireland’s rich and complex relationship and the essential role horses play in Irish rural life.
Gary Franklin, Managing Director Trains & Cruises Belmond says, “It is fitting that our first curated art collection is brought to life on such a skillfully crafted train, operating throughout an island of such outstanding natural beauty. This is the start of an exciting artistic journey for Belmond and our guests.”
Each artist’s work has been assigned to a carriage and is either on the walls of the en-suite cabins or displayed publically in the dining ‘Sligo’ and ‘Wexford’ carriages. The full collection can be viewed in a specially designed ‘Inspirations of Ireland’ booklet as a beautiful guest keepsake.
Belmond Grand Hibernian offers two, four and six-night rail experiences that visit the major destinations of the North and South, including the train’s Dublin base, Belfast and Cork. For more information or to make a reservation contact: 0845 077 2222; email@example.com or visit Belmond.com/grandhibernian