For our third attempt we were all about science, and cooperated with the University of Galway to include a number of STEM-related events. We intended to make it the theme of an open exhibition, but the response from artists around the world was so good that we split it into two shows – one on science in general, another on climate change in particular. We also held a public discussion, as well as an art competition and some talks.

Aside from the science theme we hosted a number of other cartoon events, including a display of drawings by John Arden, the launch of a new book by Joe Boske, and opportunities for public interaction like Draw On A Phonebox.

In person we had Martin Rowson of the Guardian over from the UK, as well as just about anyone who is anything in the Irish cartoon world including such familiar names as Jim Cogan, Graeme Keyes, Scratch (Aongus Collins), and Tom Halliday.

It was also about this time that we decided to make a point of featuring an important Irish cartoonist every year, and got the ball rolling with not one but two of the biggest names: Martyn Turner and TwistedDoodles.

The Venues

In 2017 we started the Galway cartoon festival with just a single exhibition spread over two venues. Since then we have grown and grown, and this year we brought you no less than eight exhibitions as well as many other cartoony activities.

Our Venues


We had shows all over the town this year: Three in Tribeton, two on the NUIG campus, two in the Town Hall Theatre and one in the Black Gate.

Martyn Turner

Tribeton (7), 12.00 – 6.00pm Daily

Opens Sunday November 10, 7.00pm

Quite probably the most famous political cartoonist working in Ireland, Martyn Turner has been with the Irish Times for nigh-on an astonishing half century. In that time he has become almost synonymous with the art in this country, while also building an international reputation for his passionate work in defence of human rights.

We are immensely proud therefore to bring this retrospective exhibition, assembled by EPIC the Irish Emigration Museum, to the Galway Cartoon Festival.

“If you ever wondered what two East End of London overweight, over-tall political cartoonists look like, here you go. Over 13 feet tall and 40 stone heavy. We should go into security work if the cartooning doesn’t work out. I’m the good looking one.” (Martyn with Steve Bell of the Guardian)

The retrospective treats Martyn Turner’s work in three sections:


NUI Galway Millennium Arts Building (1), 10.00am – 5.00pm Mon – Sat

Opens Friday November 8, 4.00pm

Maria Boyle (TwistedDoodles) has shot to viral fame as one of Ireland’s hottest cartoon talents with hilarious, charming comics exploring her work as a research microbiologist, her life as the mother of four-year-old twins, and her problems with coffee. We are immensely proud therefore to present her first ever solo show.

Maria recently published her book on parenting ‘The Newborn Identity’ with Penguin, and her work is now appearing in New Scientist magazine.

This exhibition is hosted by the Arts Office, NUI Galway.

Joe Boske

Town Hall Theatre (2), 10.00am till Late Daily

Opens Saturday November 9, 5.30pm

The frontispiece of our festival is an exhibition of works by the inimitable Joe Boske. A huge figure around the Galway scene for decades, Joe is perhaps most well known for his amazing posters from the early days of the Galway Arts Festival.

The work in this exhibition is from his latest book “Buying Yak Milk In Gurty­­madden” (see below for details of the book launch).

John Arden

Black Gate Cultural Centre (2), 5.00pm till Late Daily

Opens Friday November 8, 6.30pm

The late John Arden was on of the most respected and outspoken playwrights of the Twentieth Century. Described by the Guardian as “Britain’s Brecht”, Arden rose to prominence in the 1950s and 60s as a leading figure in a generation of angry and radical playwrights. Subsequently he moved to Drumgriffen in County Galway where he lived with his wife and co-writer Margaretta D’Arcy until his death in 2012.

Despite his fame as a writer, Arden always longed to produce a series of pictorial comments upon events and characters in his work. He found the opportunity when he published the short story collection “Gallows” shortly before his death. The pictures, in acrylic, watercolour, collage, and pen-and-ink, follow the footsteps of Rowlandson, Cruikshank and the artists of the Victorian toy-theatre: Tuppence-coloured evocations of passionate characters in a state of angry or amorous or ludicrous excitement; suggestions, rather than precise illustrations, of essential situations and confrontations from each story.

Science Cartoons

NUI Galway Arts Millennium Building (1), 10.00am – 5.00pm Mon – Sat

Opens Friday November 8, 4.00pm

This year we’ve teamed up with NUIG’s Arts Office and Galway Science and Technology Week to make science our featured topic. Alongside work by cartoonist-scientist TwistedDoodles (above), we bring you two contrasting exhibitions. We asked cartoonists around the world to send us work inspired by the word “Science”.

Climate Change

Tribeton (7), 12.00 – 6.00pm Daily

Opens Sunday November 10, 7.00pm

Sometimes science tells us things we don’t want to hear. In a more sad and angry exhibition, we gather cartoons about climate change from all around a warming world. By turns thought-provoking, moving and hilarious, the show contains features work by Marilena Nardi, Kathryn Lamb, Jeremy Banx and many more.

Tarraing é i nGaeilge

Tribeton (7), 12.00 – 6.00pm Daily

Opens Sunday November 10, 7.00pm

Ciaraíoch portrait

Cartoons don’t always have words. But in Ireland they usually do – and far more often than not, those words are in English.

Yet there is a healthy if lesser-known culture of Irish-language work here, particularly in comic strip and illustration. We thought it was time for an exhibition to represent that scene.

Ní minic go mbíonn focail ag cartúin. Ach bíonn go hiondúil in Éirinn – agus formhór an ama is i mBéarla a bhíonn siad.

Ach mar sin féin, tá cultúr de shaothair Ghaeilge againn anseo atá sláintiúil ach b’fhéidir nach bhfuil sé chomh haitheanta, go háirithe i stiallghreannán agus i léaráid. Cheap muid go raibh sé in am do thaispeántas chun go bhféadfaí an ghné sin a léiriú.

General Mayhem

Town Hall Theatre (2), 10.00am till Late Daily

Opens Saturday Nov 9, 5.30pm

Finally, the largest exhibition of them all – our annual showcase of cartoons from anywhere, about anything. Topical satire, gags, caricatures, even comic strips – all cartooning is here. Contributors come from as far afield as Belgium, Bulgaria and Bangladesh. In particular we have a great showing this year from the USA and the UK.


It’s not just about pictures on walls. We have a number of fun activities for cartoon fans lined up.

Panel Discussion

Black Gate Cultural Centre (2), Fri Nov 8, 7.30pm

So why would a cartoonist talk when they can draw?

This is one of the questions we will probably not be putting to our panel of distinguished, dishevelled guests. But anything else is fair game.

Join MC James C. Harrold and our mystery artists as we shoot the shite about… well, whatever comes up. A live public discussion with some serious comedians in the relaxing surroundings of the Black Gate Cultural Centre. Guests include Martin Rowson, Jim Cogan, Tom Mathews, Graeme Keyes and more.

Book Launch

Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, The Cornstore (6), Sat Nov 9, 3.00pm

The Galway Cartoon Festival is immensely proud and tickled to give “Buying Yak Milk In Gurty­madden” its official Galway City launch.

What can you say about Joe Boske that has not already been said of the Yeti or Loch Ness Monster? He is held by the people of Galway in a rare mixture of affection and something approaching awe. We tell our children that he lives up the mountains and wears the world’s biggest hat.

Joe has been drawing lovely things for about as long as most of us can remember, but it will come as a surprise to many that the man is also a damn fine writer and humourist.

Public Drawing Session

1520 Bar, Residence Hotel (5), Sunday Nov 10, 2.00pm

Draw – Or Be drawn!

Tom Mathews and guest artist Marilena Nardi drawing for the public last year ©Arnauld Van Der Donck

Come and be portrayed by some fine visiting artists. Or draw alongside them, if you do it too. Free caricatures! Meet some stars of the cartooniverse. Fun for children and childlike adults.

Draw on a Phone Box

Bridge St (4), Throughout the Festival

Yes, you can officially do graffiti on a phone box! The ones on the corner of Cross Street and Bridge Street, outside St Pat’s school, will be opened up to the opportunistic artist.

Latin Quarter Cartoon Trail

Latin Quarter (4), Throughout the Festival

As well as our fancy indoor exhibitions we’ll be putting art on the street throughout the “Latin Quarter” of Galway – which is the nice old bit between Shop Street and the river. Look out for cartoons in shop windows and other unexpected places.

2019 As It Happened

Please Support Our Partners

Get Email Updates

Join 921 other subscribers.

Privacy Policy

Site design by Spacelab Ireland