This site documents the work of Dublin painter, illustrator and designer, Una Watters.  It features a gallery of images of the extant work of an artist whose reputation, sadly, has fallen into neglect.

Born Una McDonnell in 1918 in north county Dublin, Una attended the National College of Art on the encouragement of Maurice McGonigal. She juggled classes with her day job as a librarian. One of her paintings, The Four Masters, still hangs in Phibsboro branch library where she worked; another, The People’s Gardens, is in the  Dublin City Gallery (Hugh Lane) 

Most of Una’s work was completed at an easel set up in the kitchen of the small cottage at Cappagh Cross in Finglas which she shared with her husband, the Irish language novelist and poet Eoghan Ó Tuairisc (Eugene Watters).

She exhibited frequently in Dublin in the 1950s and 1960s alongside Louis le Brocquy, Sean O’Sullivan (who was her cousin), Harry Kernoff, William Leech and Muriel Brandt and featured in numerous Royal Hibernian Academy and Oireachtas shows.

Working in both oils and watercolour, she was eclectic in her range – rural landscapes, semi-naieve depictions of the new suburb of Finglas, religious subjects, and in her latter years paintings that moved towards cubism and abstraction.

She died suddenly at the age of 47 in November 1965.

In early 2022, we mounted a new retrospective of her work – Una Watters: Into the Light – at the United Arts Club in Dublin. A catalogue of this exhibition and her extant work is being prepared..

Exhibition poster featuring Self-Portrait in Green (1943). Design by Kieran O’Connor.

Photographs of the 2022 exhibition: Dara McGrath.

Images appear by kind permission of the estate of Eugene Watters.

Mary Morrissy