ARTIST Will McNally working on his portrait of the late Shane McGowan.


London-Tuam artist unveils portrait of late Shane McGowan

AN internationally acclaimed artist with strong Tuam connections delivered a special portrait of the late Shane McGowan to the singer’s family in Co Tipperary last week.

Will McNally, daughter of Sandra McNally from Gilmartin Road and grandson of the late Tom McNally and Annie Trayers, has risen to become one of the UK’s top artists in recent years. His striking collections hang alongside Banksy and Andy Warhol in galleries all over the world.

The 34-year-old self taught artist spoke to The Tuam Herald this week of his delight at returning to Ireland for the unveiling of the McGowan portrait in a pub in Nenagh.

“Loads of my family travelled down from Tuam to share in the night at Philly Ryan’s pub which was a place close to Shane’s heart, including my auntie Vera who made quite the impression,” laughed Will.

“I was honoured when Shane’s family reached out to the Nectarine Art Gallery in London, who I work exclusively with, for the commission and it was a goosebump moment presenting the portrait to Shane’s sister Siobhan.”

Will, a former accountant, turned his attention to art as a full-time career during the pandemic and has had meteoric success since with his work being commissioned by Universal Studios and Warner Brothers along with leading art collectors around the world.

Will’s mother Sandra met his Dad in Greenwich, London, in the late 1980s and the family settled in Chigwell, with younger sister Olive being born two years after Will.

“I am so proud of my Tuam roots and was such an admirer of my grandad Tom who was always immaculately dressed and was known as a true character far and wide,” he said.

“He actually lived with us in London up until his death and after he had passed away Mum decided we would go back to Tuam to live for a few years. I went to school in St Pat’s and Olive was in the Mercy Primary School in the late 1990s and we absolutely loved it.”

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