Home News Happy Birthday to the Arts Council—celebrating seventy years

Happy Birthday to the Arts Council—celebrating seventy years

The Arts Council of Ireland celebrates seventy years

On this day seventy years ago, the Arts Council met for the first time.

Throughout 2022, they will celebrate the incredible achievements of Irish artists since 1952.

Support for Books Ireland

From the very beginning of the magazine in 1976 to our switch to digital in 2020, Books Ireland has received outstanding support from the Arts Council.

Our first issue, back in March 1976.

Turning point

Thanks to funding in 2021 we launched our now very popular podcast, Burning Books Ireland, which has marked a real sense of evolution for Books Ireland.

Our editor Ruth McKee has interviewed writers and bookish people, including Donal RyanNuala O’Connor and Patrick Freyne.

We’re looking forward to our 2022 season, which kicks off soon with the author of The Colony (Faber), Audrey Magee.

Anniversary Year

Professor Kevin Rafter, Chair of the Arts Council said:

“Over the past seventy years, the Arts Council has seen its funding increase from an initial £1,100 in 1952 to a record level of €130 million in 2021 and 2022. This is a signal of the central importance of the arts to Irish society and that has been particularly recognised during the Covid crisis. This anniversary year will be important in ensuring the arts remain central to our national recovery.”

Minister Catherine Martin said:

“My department looks forward to working with the Arts Council to ensure that the arts profession is funded and continues to play a central role in our society, as the recovery takes hold.”


Many organisations supported by the Council have shown their appreciation on social media under the hashtag #ArtsCouncilAt70, including The Dublin Book Festival, Little Island Books, and Futa Fata and a multitude more.

Throughout the year, the Arts Council will announce an exciting programme of events aimed at bringing art into the homes of everyone in Ireland.

Many happy returns!