Dara Vallely is a man of many talents.
He is a gifted musician, playing the uillean pipes, bodhran, tin whistle, flute and concertina to name but a few. An exceptional artist / painter, he has successfully exhibited throughout Ireland and America.

Working closely with schools and cultural associations he often uses his art in conjunction with performances by the Armagh Rhymers.

Over the past 20 years Dara and the Armagh Rhymers have awakened and stimulated thousands of children in many parts of the world. In both his 

paintings and performances, Dara is deeply influenced and inspired by the mask and its ability to transcend centuries and cultures.

Through his art, music and performance Dara has created a vehicle in which all of the people of Ireland can share. During the past twenty years of conflict, performances by the Armagh Rhymers have been seen in every possibly location on the island underlining their widespread appeal to all communities.

Dara Vallely was born in the City of Armagh. His roots in this historic city have undoubtedly influenced his work. The nearby ancient archaeological and mythological site of Emain Macha (Navan Fort) and its associated literature, the 'Tain', has proved a well - spring of inspiration. His family background has also inspired him, his father John was a gifted amateur painter while his mother Mary was an accomplished musician and singer. Dara's brother Brian is a noted Irish painter. The two brothers have a common love of music, art and heritage and a

strong desire to share these things with others. Dara has managed to combine his love of music and his interest in Celtic heritage through his work with the Armagh Rhymers. The group have toured Europe and America entertaining and educating thousands of children and adults alike with their unique blend of music poetry, mime, song and dance.

All of these elements come together in his artwork. The main subjects are traditional festivals, masked rituals and scenes from the Fionn Legends and the Tain. The images are tied together by networks of swirling lines reminiscent of Celtic knotwork. His paintings force the viewer to study the pictures section by section to comprehend the whole. The paintings are active, alive, exciting, the colours are strong with high contrasts.

Dara shows a confidence in the existence of the invisible world and the beings in it are often fused with the real world in his work. By doing so he tries to reconcile past knowledge of the spiritual and philosophical ideas with contemporary realities. In his paintings of session musicians there is an indication of the spiritual state obtained when listening to and playing music.