Joseph Colohan
Mary Colohan nee Gallagher.
Mary Colohan was born in Keel,
Achill Island in 1920. She went
to the local primary school and
got a scholarship to go to
secondary school in Tuam, Co
Galway. She entered the Civil
Service in Dublin and there met
Joe Colohan, who was working
as a builder at the time.
They knew each other for many
years. Joe continued building
and started a small printing
business. They married in 1958.
According to rules in force at
the time Mary had to leave the
civil service on getting married!
Mary's Civil service co-workers c1958
They set off on a long honeymoon on the
Continent in 1958. The travelled through
France Italy and Germany, at one point
stopping to work for a time in Vallauris,
which was a craft pottey centre at the
time. They had the idea of staying in
France but famously Joe met Picasso
who was working in Vallauris. He
advised him that the tree which is
rooted in its own soil grows best, in
other words to go home!

So taking this advice they developed
their own distinctive style and rather
bravely went back to Achill and opened
a pottery on 18th June 1960.
Brenner Pass 1958
Brochure for ceramics
festival Vallauris 1958
They also started a family and
had three children, Hubert,
Fergil and Caitriona
Joe's brothers, also builders,
helped build the Coffee and
Pottery shop, completed 1959
Fortunately the pottery took off,
helped by the fact that Achill
was a booming tourist
destination in the 1960's.

They continued to make pottery
for 28 years until Joe died in
1988 at the age of 82.

Mary continued to make pottery
for another 18 years until
ill-health prevented her from
doing so in 2007, and she
passed away in October 2007
Most of the workers have
been secondary school
children, and many people
have worked here over the
years.  We don't have as
many photos as we would like!
Staff 1980's
Staff c1964
The tradition is continued at present by their son
Fergil  and his wife Ger.
Achill Island Pottery:  History
Staff 1980's
Coffee Shop c1962