Monaco’s Prince Albert II surprised Irish artist Mary Collins…

Prince Albert and Mary Collins

Monaco’s Prince Albert attends preview of paintings by Irish artist Mary Collins
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Principality focused on gifted painter

On Tuesday 17th March, St. Patrick’s Day, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco attended the private preview of an exhibition of paintings by Irish artist and poet Mary Collins with a group of specially invited guests. The exhibition, ‘Images of Ireland’ comprising 27 watercolours, is located in the Principality’s famous Princess Grace Irish Library.

In a special message to coincide with the preview, President McAleese praised Mary Collins’ courage and perseverance in overcoming her disability. President McAleese also thanked the Princess Grace Irish Library ‘for its commitment to showcasing the work of one of Ireland’s best disabled artists’.

Mary Collins has been painting since 1990. Despite the considerable handicaps of cerebral palsy and chronic pain, she is now a painter of note and last February she was conferred with an M.A. by Trinity College Dublin.

She lives in Dun Laoghaire where she established the online Blue Wave Art Gallery. It was because of the paintings shown on the Blue Wave website, allied to her growing reputation, that that the Princess Grace Irish Library offered Mary this exhibition, her first outside Ireland.

The exhibition is open to the public for one month, until April 17th and a percentage of the sales will go to the Association Monégasque des Handicapés Moteurs.

Click here to watch Mary being interviewed for Monaco TV (at about 10min into the news):

Mary Collins was diagnosed with cerebral palsy before her first birthday and has been confined to a wheel chair for most of her life. Instead of letting her illness define her life, she adopted as her motto the advice of a friend: ’Turn your disability into an ability’.

After attending the Central Remedial Clinic School in Clontarf, Ballinteer Community School and the National Training College in Sandymount, she went to Trinity College Dublin where she has recently completed her M.Lit Research Masters degree on Irish Cultural Institutions and their impact on Contemporary Ireland. She was conferred at Trinity College in February.

A true altruist, Mary is involved in many community groups. She was part of the EU EQUAL project, Equality through Ework, sits on the Board of Southside Partnership, is Vice Chair of Accessible Community Transport Southside (ACTS), the Disability Interest Group (DIG) and represents the Community and Voluntary Forum in the Disability Consultative Group (formerly known as the Barcelona Team).

Mary Collins can be contacted through
Blue Wave Arts Gallery at

For information about the Princess Grace Irish Library and its work for Ireland, visit to contact Judith Gantley.