About Cow House Studios

Cow House Studios supports contemporary visual art practice at all levels through an independent and self-sustaining model. We aim to foster a deep curiosity for one's surroundings and encourage further engagement with the creative process as a catalyst for independent thought. To this end, we provide educational opportunities for students, residency programming for professional artists, and a platform for collaborative projects with curators, artist-led groups, and larger institutions.

Presenting opportunities to visual artists, the Artist in Residence program makes artists aware of a broader rural context and brings critically engaging contemporary artwork to our community. Our residencies are open to a broad range of creative practitioners and vary in length from one week to as long as six weeks. Often these programs have a conceptual focus, facilitated by curators or artists, while our open residency simply provides time and space to make new work.

Cow House Studios’ education program provides the guidance necessary for students to think independently and create with intent and purpose. Our residential summer and gap year courses focus on individualized teaching while balancing observational skill and practised craft with critical thinking and exposure to contemporary art. Additionally, we frequently host groups from here in Ireland and abroad.

The History

Cow House Studios is named for its practical origins on the O’Gorman family farm, where for over 250 years the family has lived and worked the land. Nestled at the foot of the scenic Blackstairs Mountains, it is located three miles from the village of Rathnure, County Wexford. The vision of two artists, Rosie O’Gorman and Frank Abruzzese, fortified by the generosity of the O’Gorman family, has transformed the function of the Cow House from a beautiful stone structure used for bedding cows into a studio committed to facilitating contemporary visual arts practice.

Michael O’Gorman, Rosie’s father, originally considered using the old farm buildings to hold art classes in 1997 when Rosie began her degree in Art Education at the NCAD, Dublin. However, the idea of converting part of the O’Gorman farm into an artist space really took shape and gained momentum when Rosie and Frank met at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2002. By that time, it was clear the Cow House had potential to not only offer classes but also to position itself as an artistic and cultural hub for the region.

In 2005, plans to transform two buildings were put in motion. Between November 2006 and June 2008, both the studio and the Barn were lovingly renovated, maintaining the structural integrity of their unique birthplace. In June 2008, Cow House Studios opened, hosting a group of young international students for the very first session of Art on the Farm and later that year, hosted four artists for our first residency program. Today, Cow House Studios coexists alongside the family farm which continues to inform the experiences our guests enjoy throughout the year.

Cow House Family & Staff

Cow House Studios is a family run business. Established in 2007 by artists Rosie O’Gorman and Frank Abruzzese, the running of the studio and farm now involves the whole family. Co-Directors Rosie and Frank are responsible for the day-to-day management of the studios, including program scheduling and curriculum development. Rosie and Frank are also the primary teachers for the workshops and courses. Both of Rosie’s younger sisters, Edel and Sinead, work with Cow House. Sinead assists with teaching and, as our studio manager, keeps everything well organized. Edel is responsible for much of the behind the scenes activities that make Cow House run smoothly.

Rosie’s parents Michael & Mary have a significant presence at Cow House; they keep the grounds in pristine condition and provide a welcoming atmosphere to our guests. Over the years, Michael has populated the fields with handmade swings, chairs and inventive sculptures made from old farm machinery, he is a craftsperson in his own right and always curious to see what’s happening in the studio. Mary is a fantastic cook, and along with the occasional dessert, homemade jam or fresh loaf of bread continues to advise Frank and Caitriona in the kitchen, ensuring that everyone who visits the studios can have a taste of the delicious food Rosie and her sisters enjoyed growing up.

In addition to the family, we are delighted to have Ciara Roche, Róisín White, and Salvatore of Lucan as associate artists. These three artists teach during our summer program Art on the Farm and our gap year program FieldWorks. Above all else, our associate artists are highly accomplished practicing artists who are committed to working with young people and represent a diverse set of artistic practices ranging from painting to sculpture, installation, performance, video, and photography. In their young careers, all have exhibited widely whilst receiving recognition for their exceptional work as recipients of numerous grants and awards.


The studios are housed in a lovingly converted stone barn. Built in 1915, it was a working “cow house” until 2006. With its dense stone walls, abundant natural light, and high ceiling supported by striking wooden beams, the Cow House is architecturally unique at twice the width of typical Irish stone barns. Today, the 343 m2 (3700 ft2) open plan studio contains a darkroom, computer lab and lounge. The studios were designed for flexibility of use, the Cow House contains 4 individual spaces, and a shared open studio floor for larger group projects and alternative working methods.

newsprint, 100gm, 150gm, and 300gm A2 cartridge papers
colored A3 pastel paper
A3 tracing paper
graphite pencils
willow and compressed charcoal
color pencils and watercolor pencils
oil pastels and chalk pastels
erasers, scissors, sharp Exacto knives
cutting mats
masking tape, drawing clips, fixative and PVA glue
A3 & A1 size drawing boards & easels
(Use of papers is included in all educational program fees. Residency artists will pay a fee if use exceeds ≈10 sheets)

10 oz unprimed cotton canvas
10 oz primed canvas
A2 & A3 Arches oil painting paper
(Canvas and oil paper is included in all educational program fees and available to artists to purchase during residencies)
Watercolour & gouache by Reeves & Daler Rowney
Water-based inks by Winsor Newton
A2 and A3 300gm watercolor paper (hot-pressed and cold-pressed)
Oil paints by Winsor Newton, Daler Rowney & Spectrum
Solvent (Zest it), acrylic gesso & a variety of mediums
Paint palettes, palette knives, brushes, and oil dippers
Gouache: Lascaux Resonance (only available for educational programs)

Black & White Darkroom capable printing from 35mm formats up to 4x5in
Sony ZV-1 point-and-shoot digital cameras
Nikon D800e full frame DSLR (35mm & 50mm lenses)
Nikon FM manual film cameras (50mm lens)
selection of tripods
studio lights (LED and Strobe)
seamless background papers
darkroom chemicals
Ilford Multigrade RC paper in pearl finish is 5x7, 8x10, and 11x14 in
Ilford HP5 35mm & 120 film
(Photographic film and paper are included for our students during educational programs and available for artists to purchase during residencies.)

table saw
miter saw
wood plane
circular saw
jig saw
a variety of sanders and power drills
a selection of clamps, fasteners, and glues
a selection of hand tools, including saws, hammers, and chisels

4 Apple Mac Studio computers with colour-calibrated ViewSonic displays
Adobe Creative Suite
Gigabit 1000 Fibre Broadband
Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro
Epson Expression 12000XL A3 Scanner
Wacom drawing tablets
Epson Surecolor P9500 (printing on our wide format printer is included for our students during educational programs; residency artists will pay a fee to cover the cost of ink and paper)
OKI A3 Colour Laser Printer (printing on our laser printer is included for our students during educational programs; residency artists will pay a fee if exceeding ≈20 prints)
ink and toner for the printers
a selection of proofing and exhibition-quality papers

Louet vertical plough plane
Louet awl guide
A2 neutral pH binders board
(Binders board is included in all educational program fees. Residency artists will pay a fee if use exceeds ≈1 sheet)
neutral pH glue
book press
waxed linen thread
binding needles
a selection of book cloth
(Book cloth is included in all educational program fees and available to artists to purchase during residencies.)


Beside the studio lies our charming accommodation. The 300-year-old barn has been transformed to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere for our guests. The shared experience of living, eating and spending time together, forms an integral part of life at the Cow House. The Barn contains five en-suite bedrooms, a cosy dining room, a large living area, an expanding visual arts library, and a busy kitchen where Caitriona and Frank prepare home cooked food.

At the Cow House we take our food seriously. We ensure that everyone eats three delicious and healthy meals a day, and we are happy to accommodate for any specific dietary needs, whether it be food allergy or vegetarian requirements. We serve a variety of cuisines from Irish to Mexican, Italian to Middle Eastern, and are proud to use ingredients that have been produced locally: fresh milk and cheese, natural Irish beef and lamb, and delicious root vegetables, not to mention our home baked breads, fruit preserves, ferments and delicious desserts.

The Barn is just beside the O’Gorman homeplace and in the past, was used as horse stables, dog kennels, storage for grain and potatoes and at one time housed workers who would have helped Rose’s ancestors work the land. It’s not uncommon for Rosie’s parents to pop in for a chat or share a meal with Rosie, Frank and their two children Michael and Emmet. The Barn is an integral part of the family homestead; giving students and residency artists alike a sense of the living history that makes short or long stays at the studio a special experience.


Ballybawn, Rathnure
Enniscorthy, Co.
Wexford, Ireland
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Phone: +353 53 916 9567
Fax: +353 53 916 9610
US Toll Free: 1 800 677 0628

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