A connection
to home

Una O'Grady's work has always been deeply influenced by her surroundings. The inspiration for her art has obvious roots in her experiences growing up in North Belfast in the 1980's, and more recently, setting up home in rural Co. Waterford.

Her paintings appear in art collections such as those of Ulster Bank, UTV & Queen's University. Una's pieces can also be found in homes and private collections throughout Ireland, with continually increasing interest from international collectors.
Una-O-Grady Pictured with Large Calves Painting

Artistic background

BA Honours in Fine & Applied Art
(Ulster University)
Post Graduate Certificate in Art Education

The beginnings of Una’s professional artistic career can be traced back to the final year Fine Art Degree show, where her painting “The Burren” was acquired for the UTV Collection by the eminent art critic Theo Snoddy.

She subsequently received an invitation by the then President of the Royal Ulster Academy, Joseph McWilliams, to exhibit in the Academy’s annual show, where she went on to receive a special recognition award.

Una has had numerous successful solo shows over the years and her portrait work (including Sir Ian McKellen and Nobel Peace Prize Winner John Hume) has also drawn acclaim.

After training to teach Art and gaining a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, Una took time out to travel in Australia and Asia. Her true desire though was to follow her own painting path and work as a full-time artist.

She considers herself very lucky to now live this dream and paints daily from her studio in rural County Waterford.

Gandalf with Ian McKellen by Una O Grady
John Hume Painting 2021 by Una O Grady

Sources of inspiration

North Belfast, Cavehill, Belfast Docks,
Urban Street Characters

The ‘Cavehill’ features often in Una’s cityscapes having grown up under Napoleon’s Nose just a few streets from Belfast Castle.

So too do her unique urban street characters bringing with them a subtle layer of humour and grit typical of Belfast. It’s mostly elderly characters that Una is drawn to – their vulnerability, experience and wit almost palpable on canvas.

The colour, energy and atmosphere of Belfast’s docks continues to inspire Una’s work.  She knows the shapes and terrain of this area of the city so well having looked down on  it for many years from her bedroom window.  Even as a child she remembers sitting on the windowsill observing the shipyard and how it’s ambiance would shift slightly with the ever evolving light.

It’s fitting that this familiarity of subject matter gives Una’s vibrant docks studies a certain spontaneity and immediacy.  Their composition, colour and sense of stored energy allow for a natural and seemingly effortless result.

A Fine Art Painting of the Shankill Road called "Up The Shankill" by Una O Grady
A Painting of an Elderly Belfast Lady called "Looking After The Pennies" by Una O Grady

A new rural chapter

A move to the countryside inspires new subjects
and a fresh, contrast perspective

Serendipity was to play a role in Una’s new rural world. Never before had she painted animals. But while staying in a mobile home (during a seemingly forever house build) she began to observe her new rural neighbours.

The calves in the next field were becoming a more familiar sight than anticipated. Una watched their movements carefully and their idiosyncratic poses and characteristics interested her.

What began as pencil sketches through the mobile home window quickly developed into a new exciting series of work.

Terriers on the small farm caught Una’s attention too…the local deerhound and Irish wolfhound. The rural experience was acting as a catalyst in developing Una’s subject matter and allowing her to become sure of her unique style of painting.

Crucially it is the contrasting themes of Una’s urban and rural existence that keep her challenged and give a natural and fresh flow to her artwork.

Una O Grady holding up large painting of Irish Wolfhound
Una O Grady displaying paintings of calves


If you are interested in viewing or purchasing Una’s work, a limited number of originals are for sale via Canvas Galleries and Eakin Gallery, both based in Belfast.

Una also sells original work via this website. If you are interested in acquiring a particular painting, and have any questions about the purchasing process, or indeed the painting itself, you are more than welcome to get in touch.

High-quality print versions of Una’s paintings can also be bought through this website. All orders are carefully handled by Una herself, and are dispatched from her home studio in Co. Waterford.