The Tyrone Guthrie Centre is located on the shores of Annaghmakerrig Lake in County Monaghan, Ireland. It offers artists a quiet, reflective and homely environment in which to work for a period of time and is the oldest residential arts centre in Ireland. Because of its proximity to Northern Ireland, it has since its inception, being jointly funded by the Arts Councils of Dublin and Belfast as a flagship example of cross border co-operation. The 450-acre estate formerly belonged to Tyrone Guthrie, one of the most eminent theatre directors of the 20th century and was left by him to the State on condition that it was used as a retreat for artists. Since Tyrone Guthrie Centre opened twenty-eight years ago, many of the innumerable visitors to the house have commented on the fairytale aspect of the house and lake with its surrounding woods. Enter the white iron gates and there hanging in the air is the promise that something special lies ahead. And rarely is the visitor disappointed.
Artists and arts workers everywhere express warm and spontaneous support for the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. There is a wide and positive consensus about the Centre. It is universally regarded as successfully providing a creative space, outside everyday life, which gives artists time and space to focus on ideas and work. It also respects and supports artists within a positive and affirming community. Throughout its short history, Annaghmakerrig has supported substantial creative endeavour as can be seen from the testimonials of various writers:
Annaghmakerrig is a wonderful place for a writer. It provides good silence and then later good company and great food. It also means that you can work side by side with painters and sculptors and composers and actors and other artists in an atmosphere which has many rich associations.
Last September the Tyrone Guthrie Centre published its first five-year strategic plan and at a special function in the Centre it was launched by Minister Mansergh.
Dr Martin Mansergh, TD,
Minister of State at the Department of Finance and Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism:
It is fitting too to remember that this is one of the oldest, though low profile, cross-border bodies. Since 1981, with the wholehearted support of both the Arts Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre has demonstrated in one sphere the viability and desirability of cross-border initiatives and bodies that have since on a wider scale become an integral part of new political dispensation. There is of course a cultural common ground across the island, and I have always deprecated the use of culture as a political weapon or as the continuation of conflict by other means. There is also an important distinction between national culture and Nationalist culture.