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Patrick Collins: Through Sligo Eyes

Tuesday 10th March, 2009

Through Sligo Eyes looks at the life of Patrick Collins, a gifted bohemian artist who was one of Ireland's greatest painters.

Everything about Paddy Collins was unconventional, and he was in his time the bohemian of all bohemians. Born in Sligo, he had a difficult childhood, he came from a large family but his father's died from TB and aged 11 Paddy was sent to live in St. Vincents orphanage in Dublin.

He did not set out to be an artist. He initially wanted to be a writer. Ulysses was Paddy's bible and he was a friend of many writers of the MacDaid's set. However, through his love of horses he met the owner of Howth Castle, who offered to let him move into the wing of the castle giving Paddy the space to concentrate on his artistic endeavours. It was here that Paddy taught himself how to paint and in 1950 three of his paintings were accepted into the RHA Irish Exhibition of Living Art.

Black-haired and dark skinned with a continental style Paddy had a charming way with women and was loved by women. Later in life, he met Patricia Ryan, the wife of John Ryan, writer and hotelier, they fell in love and she left her husband to live with him.

After many years of confident bachelorhood Paddy came to late fatherhood in middle age. Patricia Ryan gave birth to their daughter Penelope. However, Paddy's bohemian lifestyle meant that their family life was often strained.

Critically acclaimed, represented in galleries and financial institutions, collected by discerning art lovers and dealers - Collins could not make money, hold money or organise his life and work to any set pattern. A true romantic throughout his life he died in 1994 following a long illness. His ashes were scattered by the seashore of his native Sligo. Patrick Collins' legacy is a body of work, original and individual as his own personality.

This film was shot on location in Sligo, Dublin, Paris and Normandy where Patrick Collins lived and worked.

Contributions to the film include his widow Patricia, his daughter Penelope and his nephew Patrick Collins. Other contributors include friends, critics, art collectors, and gallery owners.

Patrick Collins
Patrick Collins