A few months ago I saw pictures on social media of a new art installation at the National Trust property, The Argory, in Armagh.
I remember at the time it was described as a “Marmite” piece of art- you either love it or hate it! But not knowing enough about it, or seeing it in person, I had no real opinion until last weekend.
I got to see Artificial Sunshine, as it’s called, when I was invited down to spend a family day out at The Argory, and we headed off to Armagh last Saturday.
The Argory is an old gentry house built in the 1820s and is surrounded by a 320-acre riverside estate.
A tour of the house was just kicking off as we arrived, so we joined the tour and spent roughly an hour hearing all about the history of the property and its previous owners (the last of whom, Walter Albert Nevill MacGeough-Bond, gifted the house to the National Trust in 1979.)
And it was on this tour that I saw the spectacular neon art installation! Artificial Sunshine was created by Northern Irish artist Kevin Killen, who drew inspiration from the house. This included the colours of the different rooms, the spiral shapes found in the decor, and the bright glow, similar to acetylene gas light used in The Argory. When you hear the inspiration behind it, it really does bring it all together. And I loved it!
The tour was fascinating, with all original furniture and furnishings on display, right down to the silver cutlery on the table.
Niamh was given a task and had fun finding pieces of art around the house and ticking them off on a treasure hunt-style sheet, for which she got chocolate at the end for completing it!
After the tour we headed to the coffee shop for some lunch before we set off on a walking trail around the grounds.
We took in the riverside walk and a beautiful lime tree avenue, with the trees arching over to form their own “Dark Hedges.”
It was a lovely afternoon and thankfully it stayed dry for us to enjoy the beautiful grounds. If you’re a National Trust member, admission is free, so make the most of the September sunshine!
Press play to see our video from The Argory
Entry to The Argory was gifted (£17.50 per family), but everything else was paid for, including lunch and refreshments.