New Macroom art school launches in former convent

August 5th, 2021 10:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

In 2012, after 150 years of education and community engagement, the convent, designed by architect John Pyne Hurley in 1860, closed.

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MACROOM’s new art school, in the town’s historic former convent, is holding an open day next mont to promote an awareness and appreciation of the benefits of creativity to the community.

To celebrate the relaunch of the school and the re-opening for classes in September, Chapel Hill School of Art will hold the event on August 21st from 12 to 5pm.

In partnership with Cork Craft Month and Heritage Week, and supported by Cork County Council Heritage Office, a series of heritage-based workshops and demonstrations will be held.

The school is based in the historic Mercy Convent on Chapel Hill in Macroom, designed by architect John Pyne Hurley in 1860.

It was founded in 2020 by Joe Neeson and John McCormack. They met and started working together in The National Sculpture Factory in 1997. Since then they have collaborated on many large and small scale sculptures for national and international artists.

This work is exhibited in both public and private collections.

The Macroom convent has been a centre for education and community engagement since 1865. In 2012, after 150 years of education and community engagement, the Mercy Sisters were re-assigned to other convents and the building closed.

In 2016 the two men acquired the building and embarked on their ambitious plan to create the Chapel Hill School of Art. The first phase of this plan begins this September with the relaunch of art classes. Classes will take place in the former stained glass prayer room and chapel on the property.

‘We both felt that it would be important to continue with the educational history of the building. The logical path for us, considering our backgrounds, was to create the Chapel Hill School of Art,’ they said.

Bernadette Tuite, programme coordinator at the school said: ‘On the day there will be events for the whole family to enjoy along with live music and food stalls. There will be opportunities to meet the artists educators and sign up for classes, tour Chapel Hill grounds and enjoy family fun all while celebrating the arts and traditional customs and heritage crafts that link the community to one another and the locality.’

They offer a range of art programmes for all ages from fun have-a-go creative opportunities to the Master class experience. For full details on the open day visit

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