Seamus Smith with Dr Bill Bourke and the painting ‘The Sun and the Moon’ Seamus donated to the Cirrus Rehab Unit at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan. Photo: Scott Ennis.

Local landscape inspires Dunmoe painter and author

Noted for his magnificant paintings Seamus Smyth has turned his attentions to another artistic outlet with the publication of a novel 'In the Time of Plato.'

In writing the book Seamus - who lives in Dunmoe between Slane and Navan - didn't have to look too far for a backdrop. As he does in much of his paintings he utilised the landscape that surrounds him; the all-too-familiar landscape of the Royal County.

Described on the book jacket as a novel "written with humour and love" the work "traces the lives of Plato, his brothers Paddy and Tommy and their nephew Codger, through their lives in Meath at the time of the World War 1 and the War of Independence in Ireland."

This is not the first book Smyth has brought out. Some years ago he published a memoir - 'Recollections of My Life In Navan' - in which he recounted extraordinary chapters from his life such as the time when he travelled to Croke Park in a car once owned by Adolf Hitler. The car then belonged to the Burke family in Stackallen.

There were tales also from his time working in local business enterprises such as Spicers famous bakery in Navan and the pub business.

From very early in his life Seamus showed a rich talent for painting. He held his first exhibition in Navan's Foresters' Hall in 1975. He has continued to produce paintings throughout his life - and even a stroke he suffered in 2010 couldn't stop him.

The stroke did prevent him from painting with his right hand, which he had used up to then. He responded by tenaciously learning to paint with his left - and continued to produce top quality work.

Over the decades Seamus has been honoured in various ways. In 2021 Meath County Council hosted an exhibition of his works at the Solstice Arts Centre to celebrate his 50-year career as an artist.

In July 2023 a painting crafted by Smyth - 'The Sun and the Moon' - was unveiled at the new Cirrus Rehab Unit at Our Lady's Hospital in Navan. The artist was inspired to produce the work when out walking in Gormanlough in early 2021 he was struck by a beautiful moon rising in the east while a golden sun was setting in the east.

It was the kind of moment to spark his imagination and he got to work on the painting and was delighted to dedicate it to the Cirrus Rehab Unit. The unveiling of the painting was attended by Dr Bill Bourke who had attended to Seamus when the artist was afflicted by the stroke. He wanted to paint a picture that would offer hope and inspiration to stroke victims. A work that would convey the message that there was a life after such an illness - as he had proven with his own resilience and resourcefulness.

Now he has turned his formidable artistic capabilities to another artform.