Nuala Holloway is an artist and secondary school teacher and a former model, actress and Miss Ireland. She is a fluent Irish speaker and has written and broadcast the news in the Irish language for Raidió Na Life. As an artist Nuala specialises mainly in oils, acrylics, pastel and watercolours. She has exhibited around the country and has commissions in America, Britain and Italy. She has been resident at the world renowned Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat in Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry. Her Oil Painting “Famine Ship – Jeanie Johnston” was selected in 2011 by the US Embassy in Dublin as a gift for U.S. President Barack Obama on his first official visit to Ireland for which she received a personal letter of thanks from President Obama.
Born in Mount Temple, Co. Westmeath, Ireland, Nuala studied at the Crawford College of Art, Cork. Her studies were abandoned when she was encouraged to become a model and she was subsequently chosen to represent Ireland at the Miss International Beauty Pageant, Okinawa, Japan. Nuala became a well known photographic and fashion model in the late 70s and 80s and trained as an actress, working mostly on T.V. Dramas, Film Theatre and T.V. Commercials. Some of her work has included appearances on “Bracken” with Gabriel Byrne and “The Live Mike” with Dermot Morgan, where she played Sr. Concepta alongside Morgan’s Fr. Trendy. She also worked on “Manions of America” with Pierce Brosnan and on “The Grain Train Robbery” with Sean Connery, with whom she filmed several scenes, as well as acting as a stand in for Lesley-Anne Down.
After raising a family, Nuala’s interest in painting was rekindled in the mid 1990s. She studied under Kay Doyle A.N.C.A., President of the Watercolour Society of Ireland. In November 1997, her painting “Coming Out of the wood – Seve Ballesteros” was chosen from 300 entries for the Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown Open Exhibition of 30 Artists. In April 1998, two paintings were chosen for the Dun Laoghaire exhibition – “Asgard II” and “Dun Laoghaire Harbour”. This work was singled out for special mention by Peter Murray, Director of the Crawford Gallery, Cork. His comment was “An Artist of exceptional talent”. Since then she has completed a number of commissions and her work is now in private collections in Ireland, Wales, Wisconsin and New York.
Nuala has a B.A. Honours Degree in Modern and Medieval Irish, History of Art, Italian and English from University College Dublin. Nuala also has a Higher Diploma in Education and post graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
In August 2006, Nuala exhibited a selection of her artwork alongside the poetry of Mullingar based historian and writer, Leo Daly in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Nuala’s first solo exhibition, “Inspirations”, took place at Tuar Ard Arts Centre, Moate, Co. Westmeath in September 2006. It was opened by artist, writer and TV presenter Don Conroy and Moate’s local historian, Vera Hughes. This was followed by an invitation to exhibit her work in Arklow, Co. Wicklow during the summer of 2007.
In December, 2007, “Reflections”, Nuala’s first solo Dublin exhibition took place at Airfield House, Dundrum and was opened by Senator Eoghan Harris. Senator Harris referred to Nuala as “the Niglella Lawson of Irish art” drawing reference on the force and energy in her work. He also highlighted the nostalgia in some of her work which represents “a world which is about to slip away” and he noted her ability to draw which he finds very important in an artist.
In November 2008 Nuala held a co art exhibition with another former Miss Ireland, Jakki Moore in Dun Laoghaire. The exhibition titled, ‘The Magical World of Maritime’ was a celebration of coral and the oceans. The exhibition was held in aid of the Chernobyl Children’s Charity. She followed this three years later with another co-exhibition with Jakki at The Sol Art Gallery in Dublin in December 2011. This exhibition titled, “Moments” was opened by Hollywood director Jimmy T. Murakami. Following this, Nuala’s “Literary Portrait Exhibition”, launched by Don Conroy, featured a selection of paintings of well known writers associated with Dalkey and took place at the Corner Note Café, Dalkey in December 2013.
Paintings by Nuala Holloway are currently on exhibit at the Oratory Gallery in Cahirciveen Co. Kerry and The Corner Note Café, Dalkey, Co. Dublin and her work can be seen in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.