Bertille De Lestrade outside Studio Bleu.

Studio Bleu art, craft and Christmas fair

Castlepollard was treated to a two-day Christmas market at Studio Bleu on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November.

Original art, prints, décor and jewellery from local artists were on sale, as well as a selection of vintage clothing. Shoppers were offered free wine, soft drinks and nibbles on the opening day, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Organised by Bertille De Lestrade, with Deirdre Clogher and Rachel Coyne, the event was held at Bertille’s studio-gallery. The three local artists showcased their one-of-a-kind creations, unlike anything available in mainstream retail outlets.

Ideal for anyone seeking unique gifts and Christmas decorations, the market was a great success and Bertille told the Westmeath Examiner that she hopes to arrange more events in the village.

Originally from Bordeaux in France, Bertille moved to Ireland 14 years ago. She lived in Dublin for 10 years before moving to Castlepollard in 2019.

“I started renting this space just a year ago… I have just also opened a vintage corner because I’ve been selling vintage online for years.

“So I started selling vintage with a lovely local lady called Bernie Kellett. Today we organised a little Christmas market, and we have two other artists, who are Deirdre Clogher and Rachel Coyne,” said Bertille.

“Rachel Coyne, one of the artists who is selling here today, is the co-founder of Cúige Studios in Mullingar. They’re a collective of artists and they organise meetups with different creatives and artists, called the Coterie, so that’s kind of how we met. So we are always interested in meeting local artists and gathering, and just creating a network of artists.”

Coterie Christmas event on December 14 next

The Coterie are hosting a Christmas event on Thursday December 14 (6.30-8pm) at Cúige Studios.

Rachel and her colleague Andrea Cullen invite Coterie goers to share some music, poetry, storytelling or "whatever it is that’s your go to party piece".

It is also be a fundraising event for Temporary Emergency Accommodation Midlands (TEAM); there will be a donation jar, mulled wine, a non-alcoholic option and festive nibbles.

Rachel and Andrea Cullen also opinions and ideas for series two of The Coterie and for other events at Cúige. They will have a collection box people can pop them in on the 14th. "The Coterie is for you the community and we greatly value your opinions," they said.