Derek Hill and Tory Island’s Artists

Derek Hill

Derek Hill ( 6 December 1916 – 30 July 2000) was an English landscape and portrait artist, who first visited Tory Island in 1956. Derek returned many times over the intervening years, staying in a little hut in Ard Larthain, which was once a coastal signal station.

Glebe House

Derek’s former home and gardens are located close to the village of Churchill, and Glenveagh National Park. They were gifted to the Irish nation, together with a collection of over 1500 pieces of art.

You can travel on a virtual tour of Glebe House HERE  A number of the Tory Island artist’s paintings are displayed in the kitchen.

The website also features some of Derek Hill’s vast art collection.

The approach to the hut at Ard Larthain 

Derek Hill’s Painting Studio

The artist’s former painting studio is located on the north of Tory island, and is reached via a beautiful path. On my recent visit, I was completely alone at this scenic spot; I could see why he chose it for inspiration.

Some of his best known paintings feature the island, including Tory from Tor Mor, The End of Tory and Toraigh na dTonn


I sat on this red bench admiring the scenery and feeling incredibly blessed.

20170925_141349Dun Bhaloir associated with the the legend of Balor of the evil Eye Balor na Suile Nimhe  can be seen at the furthest and highest corner of the island.

The houses in the distance are located in East Town An Baile Thoir.

The Tory Island Artists

James Dixon (1887 – 1970) was among the first group of painters on the island. He impressed Derek Hill with his original work using household paints and other simple materials.

Inspired by Derek Hill, the group eventually expanded to include James brother Johny Dixon, Jimi Yank Rodgers, Ruari Sarah Rodgers and Patsy Dan Rodgers – the present King of Tory Island.

A second generation of island painters emerged later – Ruari L. Rodgers, Antoin Meenan, Michael F. Rodgers and Padraig Diver.

The website includes the work of Ruari L. Rodgers, Antoin Meenan, Patsy Dan Rodgers, Michael F. Rodgers and Padraig Diver plus a new generation of artists Majella Nic Ruaidhri, Daniel M. Cullen, Christina Nic Ruaidhri and Noreen Meenan.

Patsy Dan Rodgers is the only surviving member of the original artists.


Painting by Ruari L. Rodgers

Ruari L. Rodgers

Returning from my visit to Derek Hill’s painting retreat, I caught sight of a “Paintings for Sale” sign in a home beside the harbour.

I stopped to chat to artist Ruari L. Rodgers who later welcomed me inside to view his beautiful collection of paintings – mostly seascapes, including my favourite of wild seas around Tory harbour.

Ruari kindly allowed me to include a photograph of one of his landscapes. You can see more of his paintings on

Purchase several Tory Island paintings is now on my wishlist!

If you enjoyed this post you might also like:

The Wild Atlantic Way – Tory Island

Tory Island Walks

Tory Island and Saint Colm Cille

Tory Island Walks -The Legend of Balor of the Evil Eye

Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.


  1. What an interesting post! Thank you for introducing us to the Tory Island painters and Derek Hill, as well as his lovely house and garden and all your wonderful links! I loved the blue hall and the kitchen dresser and would love to visit the island one day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So open to the elements and such a tiny studio. It looks like it could be blown out to sea at any moment. I remember visiting Dylan Thomas’s writing studio in South Wales, it too is a tiny shed on the coast. Wonderful llaces to contemplate and be inspired. Lovely photos as always 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for taking us along this virtual tour. I have read about English landscape in the novels, it is a pleasure to watch through your pictures Brigid, they are awesome! 🙂 Have a nice nice weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That red bench is spectacular…I can see why you felt blessed sitting there! Is it weighted down so the winds don’t blow it away? What a very inspirational place, I can see why artists would want to stay there…the landscape is so very inviting and just screaming paint me! Thanks for sharing Brigid…xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brigid, what an amazing location to paint, wonderfully remote and inspiring…you can sense the art of creation falling upon one! A fascinating post and as always such beautiful photographs. I hope you get some of those landscape paintings sometime! How lovely to meet the artist and have a chat to him! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s