Gilligan unveils late Clondalkin-ite, Jonathan Wade painting

jonathan wade clondalki

Local Councillor Trevor Gilligan recently unveiled Jonathan Wade painting, at the event he said “Fellow councillors, ladies, and gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to attend this wonderful occasion to celebrate one of our greatest citizens, the painter Jonathan Wade. As you know, Jonathan tragically died in a road accident 51 years ago, at the age of 31. At that young age, he had established himself as the most exciting young artist of his generation, and the expectation was that he would go on to be a major figure in Irish Art for the rest of the Twentieth Century and beyond. Fate intervened and his development was cut brutally short. But he had been so productive over his short life that he left behind a rich body of work any artist who lived to old age would have been proud of.”

He continued “Jonathan’s paintings are included in all the major collections of Irish Art, including that of the Arts Council, and the Bank of Ireland. A number of his works are in the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery in Parnell Square, with another ‘Bridge over the Liffey’ hanging in Clondalkin Library just 150 metres from here. It is totally appropriate, therefore, that one of his major paintings is now on display here in the heart of Clondalkin where he taught, where he created his work, where he called home. Like so many of our citizens, Jonathan was a proud Clondalkin man, but was not born here. He was born into a working-class family in the Liberties, just off Thomas Street. He left school at 14 to be apprenticed to his father’s trade, a butcher. But he didn’t like it and moved on. The family moved to Walkinstown. Eventually in his teens he developed an interest in art, and was almost entirely self-taught. He went to a dance in the Castaways, no more than 50 metres behind us here, and met a local girl called Doreen McGuinness. Jonathan and Doreen were married when he was just 21, moved to London, didn’t settle, and returned to live in Doreen’s family house, along with her sister. It was a small cottage on Knockmeenagh Road and had a shed attached. The shed became his studio, and they lived happily here until they were eventually given a Council house in Michael Collins Park”.

The Clondalkin representative concluded “He died on the 21st January, 1973. He was returning from visiting his mother in Walkinstown. It was a frosty night, and his motor bike skidded on an icy pothole. At that time he was working as a part-time teacher in this building, which was then Coláiste Chrónáin, or Clondalkin Vocational School. It is therefore highly appropriate that a sample of his work should be on show in this building, highly appropriate that the people of Clondalkin will have access to this important work by this important artist.I want to congratulate all those who have been involved in this project: our hostess and manager of Clondalkin Education Centre, Elaine Vince O’Hara; Helen Taylor, the Principal of Deansrath Community College who so generously released the painting for exhibition here; the two people who have been driving the project, Thyes Kavanagh and Jack Harte; Scotus Press who have been driving the effort to have Jonathan Wade rightly recognised as an artist of world stature, and they are represented here by Clondalkin man Pat Pidgeon”. 

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Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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