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Talking Pictures Week 47: Island People

Gerard Dillon, Island People

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This painting is by an artist called Gerard Dillon. This painting, Island People, was created when Dillon spent a year on Inishlacken Island off the coast of Connemara in the west of Ireland.

What can we see in the painting? There is a man walking away towards the sea with his head bowed. What is he carrying? Could he be the artist? There are two people on the right watching.

There are lots of animals in the painting too. Can you spot them? How many can you find?

What do you think of the colours Dillon has used in this painting? They are very natural, aren’t they? Browns, greys, dark blues and dark greens. These are colours you often see on a walk in Ireland.

There are a lot of stones in the painting. There are stone walls separating the fields and the buildings have stone walls too.

Island people

Have you been to any Irish islands? We have quite a few of them! Can you imagine what it is like living on a small island? All your food would be brought in by boat and your trip to school might involve a sea crossing too! Can you imagine that boat trip on a dark winter morning?


Scrambled islands

Let’s see if we can work out the names of the following Irish islands. If you are stuck, maybe an adult would know a few! There are clues to help you with each of them.

NIIS óMR - Big Island as Gaeilge. Co. Galway

ECAP ECLAR - You’d see it on a clear day in County Cork

SIEHNKR - An island to rival the above, where the waters roar. Co. Cork

HILCLA - The Achilles heel of surfers in Mayo

SSLEIKLG LMIEAHC - a Star Wars was filmed here. Co. Kerry

HGNARSI - A tropical paradise with seals galore. You might put this on your dinner too. Co. Cork

NIHSIIOBFN - Comes from the Irish Inis Bó Finne, Co. Galway

BKALTSES - Peig Sayers lived here, Co. Kerry

AVATELNI - An island you can drive on to. Co. Kerry

Painting stones

Stone features a lot in Gerard Dillon’s paintings. As well as being a very useful building material and looking nice on the beach, stones can make a great canvas!

Find a suitably smooth stone on your next walk, in your garden or outside in your park. You will need acrylic paints and paintbrushes to paint your stone.

You can paint your stone however you want. It can be a face, an animal or a whole picture. I took some inspiration from Island People for my seaside scene:


And hey presto! Little stone paintings to add to your collection, to put in your pocket or to give to someone you love!

You can download an Irish language pdf version of this article here.

Talking Pictures: 'Island People' was devised by Annie Forrester

Please share:

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