Michael Mulcahy was born in Cork in 1952. He studied at Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork in 1969 and at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin from 1970 to 1973. Though now based in the south east of Ireland, Mulcahy has lived and worked in north-west Africa, Australia, Papua New Guinea, India, Mali and South Korea, and his extensive travels have had a considerable influence on his practice.
Mulcahy's work is known for its exotic colouration and his loose, expressionistic markmaking that is often closely related to the sign systems of other cultures. His paintings and drawings fluctuate from figuration to abstraction, and his subjects range from celestial bodies to landscape, religion, culture and portraiture.
Michael Mulcahy has received numerous bursaries and travel awards and has been commissioned to illustrate several publications, including Suite of Fire, a collection of poems by President Michael D. Higgins. He exhibited regularly at the Irish Exhibition of Living Art from 1970 to 1980 and with Independent Artists from 1970 to 1983, and has had solo exhibitions with Galerie Médiart, Paris; Fenton Gallery, Cork; Pigyard Gallery, Wexford; Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast; and the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny. Mulcahy has been represented by Taylor Galleries since the 1980s and his work features in the public collections of The Arts Council, Trinity College Dublin, the Ulster Museum, AIB, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, and IMMA.