Custom House Studios and Gallery The Custom House Studios The Quay, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland T +353 (0)98 28735 Gallery opening hours Mon-Fri, 10.00 - 17.00 Sat / Sun / Bank Holidays 13.00 - 16.30 Location Map >>

Carrowbeg Cooks

Book launched

Carrowbeg Cooks was launched at The Custom House Studios, Westport Quay by guest Speaker Daren Cawley.

Carrowbeg Artists, Sarah Kelly, Trish Kelly, Anna Rose Lowry, Marion Mc­Ging, Máire Maguire and Gerry O’Malley have been meeting for art workshops weekly in The Custom House Studios. Supported by The Upstart Project, from Mayo County Council Arts Office, the group have worked on a different project each year including, Bronze casting, Film, Pottery and an Artist’s book; A Book of Shopping. They have opportunities to explore different artistic pro­cesses, experiment with new techniques, develop their skills and their styles of working in Printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture and books.


All projects have been facilitated and directed by artists Caroline Masterson and Gráinne O’Reilly, and have been completed each year to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The group have also had opportunities to meet and work with several other artists from the local and international community.


A successful aspect of the workshops has been an emphasis on participants self motivation and expression, the place of the workshop within a weekly schedule and routine of activities and the involvement and support of staff from Carrowbeg Enterprises. Staff at Custom House Studios provide tangible supports, assistance and guidance to the participants.   There is an emphasises on engaging in processes which have the capacity to develop and transform the participant’s imagery into a different medium. This engagement with complex processes enriches the individual’s experience of working on an art project.


In 2017 the group worked with visual artists Gráinne O’Reilly and Caroline Masterson, and with The Idle Wall chef Áine Maguire to complete a cookery book reflecting the tastes, dietary needs and preferences of the individual participants. The process was documented by photographer Conor Mc Keown.


Áine Maguire took leadership of the project and each participant  informed her of their favourite foods. From that she developed the recipes for the cookery classes. Shopping for the ingredients took place in Supervalu and McCormack’s Butch­ers in Westport. The cookery classes took place over a number of weeks with Áine in The Idle Wall, where everyone enjoyed a beautiful meal at the end of each session.  Participants made aprons and bags in preparation for the project. Imagery of these, along with documentary photographs and the original recipes are used to make the pages of the book. The project culminated in the cookery book Carrowbeg Cook - a unique book presented with beautiful art work and documentary photographs.

The social aspect of coming together as a group for this and previous projects has provided learning, enjoyment, pride and a sense of achievement. This cookbook is a reflection of the food preferences of the artists involved, but it is also a practical, usable cook­book for anyone to enjoy.


Custom House Studios wish to thank the Carrowbeg Artists Group for their ongoing enthusiastic participation. We wish to thank the artists facilitators, Gráinne O’Reilly and Caroline Masterson, chef Áine Macguire,  photographer Conor Mc Keown, social care workers Mary Duffy, Stephanie Morrison and designer Frank O’Reilly.


The project has been specifically supported by Western Care Association fundraising, Mayo County Council Arts Office Upstart Programme and Custom House Studios. We wish to specifically thank sponsors, photographer Ron Rosenstock  and  Supervalu and The Kavanagh Group, Westport.


Carrowbeg Cooks will be formally launched at 3.00pm Sunday December 10th at The Custom House Studios, Westport Quay.     All interested are invited to attend.