Ann started college late in life
Published 11/06/2016 | 00:00
'I went to Oulart national school and art was something I always had an interest in, from an early age. I would be drawing when I should have been doing my lessons.
There was no such thing as art in school then. It wouldn't have been heard of.
I left school at 14 and went to England in 1970 where I worked for 10 years in Tesco. When I came back in the early 1980's I worked with people with disabilities in Windmill Therapeutic Unit and the Irish Wheelchair Association and would have done arts and crafts with them.
I retired when I got arthritis and I enrolled in an 18-month computer course in the Swan Centre where a tutor encouraged me to consider studying art.
I applied to do an Honours Degree in Fine Art at the Wexford Campus School of Art and Design and got a portfolio of drawings, paintings and sculpture ready. I was over the moon when I got in.
The past four years have been brilliant but it has been tough going at times. We had a lot of essays in first and second year. I did my thesis on pop art.
For my final project and exhibition, I did small-scale oil paintings on gesso panels, documenting my journey from college to home. I never would have dreamt of painting something like that.
Two years ago, I won the overall prize in the Wexford Lions Club art exhibition with an abstract wire sculpture.
I'm sad that the course is coming to an end now. I found it very fulfilling because I was doing something I loved. I now feel I could do anything.'
I think art is very important because people can explore their feelings and document things that they see and love.
Irish people tend to keep stuff in and art can help you get out your emotions. It's always something that you know you love and you can go back to. It's very therapeutic.
Everyone has a need for self-expression inside them. My brother is a great singer but he never got the opportunity to sing.
I have two sons and a daughter and a granddaughter of one and a half and my family are over the moon about me doing a college degree.
When I gave up work, I took up Irish dancing, I started playing the violin and joined the Gateway orchestra. I joined the Ladies Choir and the Festival Singers. I did all the things I wanted to do in my old age.'