Early Years & Families

West Cork Arts Centre has been developing an Early Childhood Arts programme since 2010, which draws on existing resources and programmes to engage with and learn more about working with very young children.

Tiny Trad for Cruinniú na nÓg at UIllinn
with Fiona Kelleher and Caoimhin Vallely
Saturday 11 June,11 am and 12.30 pm, for families with young children from 0 to 5 years. Booking on Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/cruinniu-na-nog-tiny-trad-tickets-341889610027
Tiny Trad is a toe tapping and invigorating musical adventure created especially for the youngest. Children and their parents are invited to join in the fun for this highly interactive and joyous musical adventure where we celebrate the unique and infectious music of the Irish tradition. Come and meet new friends, sing and play! Bring your favourite cuddly too to join in the fun!
The performance will include songs in Irish and English.

About the Artists

Fiona Kelleher is a leading early years artist and vocalist who composes music for very young children. Her music has featured in film and theatre productions for children. She produces work for children in community settings as well as collaborating with artists of various disciplines to produce integrated artistic projects. She has been botha lead artist and collaborator on many projects in Early Years work in Irelandwith the BEAG project ( Graffiti Theatre) Music Generation, The Ark Cultural Centre for Children and Ceol Connected. She continues to write, produce and research as an EarlyYears artist and vocalist with new music to be released in late 2021 and early 2022.

Caoimhin Vallely is a renowned and much sought after piano player in Irish music. Known for his unique and virtuosic interpretations of traditional dance music he is also much in demand as a song accompanist . He has performed toured and recorded extensively with many prominent musicians and ensembles. With an eye to the experimental Caoimhin brings originality and flare to all musical performances. He is a collaborator of Fiona Kelleher and has both recorded and performed in her Early Years music productions for many years.

Cruinniú na nÓg is an initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme and is one of the key actions of Creative Youth – a plan to enable the creative potential of every child and young person. It is delivered through the network of Creative Ireland Coordinators and local authority Culture and Creativity Teams in each of the 31 local authorities and is supported by RTÉ.

Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre acknowledges the support of Cork County Council and The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media in making the event happen. #locallive #corkcocopops.

BEAG: Paper Play
An almost silent story! Is an exploration of white paper and the endless transformational possibilities. Opening with a short performance to present the material & create atmosphere which quickly extends to an invitation to play. There is an immense learning opportunity through this creative play experience; This experience links to the Aistear framework of well being, identity, communication, exploring and thinking and making sense of the world around them. There’s no right or wrong, just what each individual sees and how they interpret their own experience.

Quotes from children such as “it’s your hair!” “It’s a cloud” “Wow!” “She’s funny!” and lots and lots of laughter.

This is specifically for children from birth to three years and their adults.

BEAG: Since 1984, Graffiti has been providing a unique brand of excellence in drama and theatre work for children and young people from birth to 18 years, throughout Cork city and county. With a belief in building community through creativity, kindness and the power of imagination, Graffiti creates theatre and quality arts experiences to help children to imagine a better world. BEAG is Graffiti’s early years arts programme which offers play-based, multi-sensory and interactive arts experiences for children from birth to three years.

Curiosity is a County Cork Culture Ireland supported project that invites children between the ages of 3 and 5 and their families, living in rural outreaches of West Cork to access our arts venue for a cultural engagement with contemporary art and architecture. This formative experience will reflect positively on their engagement with museums and galleries for life.
The project places particular emphasis on the creative process and quality engagement, ensuring artistic expressions are valued, self-esteem is enhanced, spontaneity and risk-taking are encouraged, and difference is celebrated. The methodology is based on the experience of, and learning from, our existing children’s programmes at WCAC including Discovery Box and Art Club.

The programme is delivered in five strands using key themes drawn from the exhibition programmeCuriosity Project

  • Discovery Box is designed for use in the gallery and the playschool. It contains a series of imaginative objects that engage the young audience in the concepts of the exhibition and is the basis for storytelling and investigation through creative play.
  • Curiousity is a series of three workshops with an artist at the playschool, comprising both making and looking to inspire curiosity and exploration into our surrounding environment.
  • An evening workshop either at the playschool or at Uillinn where parents can join the artists to explore new ideas for creating with their children
  • A Day Out at Uillinn the whole playschool, leaders, children and their families take a bus to Skibbereen for a creative day of three different exciting workshops on the themes inspired by the exhibition:-
    Curious Dance Moves exploring choreography, sound and movement
    Curiosity Club encouraging looking and voicing ideas
    Curious Art Making exploring new ideas through making.
  • The project will culminate in an exhibition of artwork made by the children at Uillinn

Discovery Box is a free, self-directed gallery resource for parents to use with their young children in the gallery. It encourages adults and children to engage with the exhibition, see and interact with the artwork and gain insight into the exhibiting artists' practice. The Discovery Box is not about making art and does not include art materials. Rather, it is a series of imaginative tools to employ the creative mind and to investigate the artwork through play and conversation. By participating, it creates a space for people to spend more time with the artwork and the exhibition. 

To find out more about the Discovery Box click the link. 


Curiosity Club is a playful hour for young children, full of engaging sensory activities to encourage interaction with our exhibitions. Facilitated by an artist and aimed at children aged 5 to 8 years accompanied by an adult, it takes place in the galleries and workspace on a regular basis.



Images: Curiosity Club,Crúinniú na nÓg, Photograph: Kevin O'Farrell, Curiosity Project 2018, painting with Charlotte Donovan. Children enjoying the opening of Art in Action, an exhibition by 8 polish artists.
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