It's no oil painting for Freud-sitter Pat Doherty

Pat Doherty standing next to a painting by Lucian Freud of himself.

I can't imagine anything more intense than getting your portrait painted. Just sat there for hours on end, eyeballing someone while they analyse every imperfection on your mug.

"It's certainly an experience," Donegal man Pat Doherty (above) said at the launch of IMMA's new Lucien Freud Collection. Pat sat for Lucien on three separate occasions. "The first painting took 100 sittings, the second was 85 sittings and the third sketch was 35 sittings," he said. "Each sitting took three hours. So it was a lot of time."

And what did he make of the final product? "Well, they're not pretty. I told Lucien I might grow into them - in 30 years' time."

The exhibition, which opened on Thursday night, is filled with 30 of Freud's paintings - including one of his fashion-designer daughter Bella. Lucien had plenty of ties to Ireland - he was always knocking about with Francis Bacon, and Jack B Yeats and he was married to Guinness heiress Lady Caroline Blackwood.

"He has so many connections," director Sarah Glennie said. "Which is why it's fantastic to have a home for these pieces here."

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys with Pat Doherty at the launch of the IMMA Freud Project.