A new art gallery has been launched at Enniskillen Castle as part of the Heritage Gateway opening events following a £3.5 million redevelopment programme.

For the first time ever, museum collections of fine and decorative art can be enjoyed in a dedicated gallery space within the refurbished historic site.

The Full Circle Art Gallery celebrates creativity and inspiration from prehistoric times to the present day. Visitors can enjoy paintings by William Scott and TP Flanagan alongside Belleek Parian Sculpture and Inishmacsaint Lace.

A particular highlight at the entrance is a showcase of prehistoric jewellery including the breathtaking Bronze Age Gold Torc currently on loan from the National Museums Northern Ireland.

Complementing the special launch of the Full Circle Art Gallery was the opening of an exhibition highlighting the early Enniskillen beginnings of internationally renowned artist William Scott.
Some of the works in the exhibition are on public display for the very first time.

William Scott’s son, James Scott, travelled from the United States of America to launch the exhibition ‘William Scott: The Early Years’ at the Castle’s new Full Circle Art Gallery recently.

William Scott was brought up in Enniskillen and was first taught painting by Kathleen Bridle in the 1920s. After a family tragedy, local people raised funds for the promising student to continue his studies at Belfast College of Art. William Scott went on to become an artist of international significance.

The exhibition features a number of early sketches and documents relating to Enniskillen that have been kindly lent by the William Scott Foundation.

Speaking at the launch of the ‘William Scott: The Early Years’ Chairperson of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Mary Garrity, said:
“The Full Circle Art Gallery will provide a perfect platform to showcase the rich tradition of fine art for which Fermanagh is well known.

It is entirely appropriate that the inaugural exhibition to feature in the new gallery entitled “William Scott; the early years” celebrates the earlier work of one of the foremost painters of the 20th century. While William, wasn’t born in Enniskillen, we can without doubt lay claim to him as one of our own as he spent his formative years in his father’s hometown and had his love for painting nurtured by Kathleen Bridle who taught Art Classes at Enniskillen Technical College.

Indeed we have much to be thankful to Kathleen for, as she not only tutored the young William Scott, but she also played a key role in the artistic development of TP Flanagan.

Some of the works in this exhibition are on public display for the first time and I would like to place on record our gratitude to the William Scott Foundation for its generosity in lending many documents and sketches in which Enniskillen features strongly for the inaugural exhibition.

I am delighted also that William Scott’s son, James, has travelled from his home in Los Angeles to join us for the opening of the gallery and the exhibition which features his father’s work.”

Fermanagh County Museum, within Enniskillen Castle recently reopened following a £3.5 million redevelopment programme transforming it into a museums, information and heritage gateway for the local area and beyond.

The redevelopment programme received funding from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund; the European Regional Development Fund, under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland 2007-2013, administered by Tourism Northern Ireland; the Department for Communities – Historic Environment Division; Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and the Friends of Fermanagh County Museum.

‘William Scott: The Early Years’ continues at Enniskillen Castle throughout 2016. Admission to the Enniskillen Castle site includes entry to the Maguire Story in the Castle Keep and the Inniskillings Museum. Its opening hours are Monday – Friday *9.30 am – 5 pm, Saturday 11am – 5 pm, Sunday (June – September) 11am – 5 pm, (*9.30 am for Visitor Centre. 10 am for other buildings).