If you write do you know your local council art office and arts officer? They vary considerably within Ireland and the UK but it's always worth making contact. Most councils have some kind of grants for artists on offer. Find out, call, checked their website. Remember it's your money they're spending. You as a tax and rate payer pay for county council money so why not ask for some of it back? They usually look for you to live, work or have roots or connection of some sort with the county. Get yourself out there.
Take this one from Wexford as an example.
The Arts Department of Wexford County Council is pleased to announce that applications are now being invited from individual artists, resident in or originally from County Wexford for the 2008 Artist Bursary Award Scheme.
Wexford County Council’s Artist Bursary Award Scheme is aimed at realising the Local Authority’s policy of supporting individual creative artists in society. The bursary awards are aimed at:
-Contributing to developing and sustaining an artist’s career
-Supporting and improving the quality of an individual artist’s existing practice
-Encouraging artists endeavouring to further develop their skills
-Assisting an artist’s development
-Acknowledging excellence in the arts
-Contributing to the growth of a cohort of skilled County Wexford artists
In addition, Wexford County Council is also offering: 2 Education / Training Awards valued at €5,000 each open to artists practicing in any artform or context
For further information and an application form, please contact: The Arts Department, Wexford County Council, County Hall, Wexford. T: 053 9176500 ext. 6441/6369 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm, Thursday, 28th February, 2008