Wild Atlantic Women: Sara O’Neill

Proof positive that COASTAL LIVING enhances wellbeing and STIMULATES CREATIVITY, twelve women at work along the Wild Atlantic Way share their local secrets with Penny McCormick. This week we speak to stylist and designer SARA O’NEILL


“Living on the coast inspires my work more than I ever thought possible,” says stylist and designer O’Neill. “Four years ago I met Al [Mennie – her partner and a surf champion] and moved back to my hometown of Portrush, on the Antrim coast, after 15 years in Belfast. I had been printing my illustrations onto fabric and garments for a year or two but was lacking direction. Standing on the edge of the cliffs looking out to sea, being surrounded by the rugged coastline, the old castles, the Giant’s Causeway, brought back all of the stories my grandmother from Dublin told me growing up … of banshees, The Children of Lir, fairytales and pirate queens and the strong women in our history and heritage. The stories all seemed to come to life here and I started to illustrate them, printing them onto silk combined with the rich colour palette of the stormy seas and incredible sunsets.”


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