Rowan Gillespie was born in Dublin in 1953 and lived in Cyprus until the age of ten. In 1969 he enrolled at York School of Art and later continued his studies at Kingston College of Art and Kunst og Handverke Skole in Oslo. In 1989 he decided to concentrate on site specific work, resulting in a number of major public sculptures sited throughout Ireland and abroad including The Blackrock Dolmen, The Kiss, The Age of Freedom (all in Dublin), The Cashel Dancers (Cashel), W.B.Yeats (Sligo), The Singer (Limerick City) and The Cycle of Life and The Minstrels in Colorado, USA.
Gillespie's most well known piece to date is Famine, a commemorative group of seven life-size figures sited on Custom House Quay in Dublin which was donated to the Irish people by Mrs Norma Smurfit in 1997. His work is represented in the collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Self-Portrait Collection, Limerick, AIB Bank, I.B.M., Office of An Taoiseach, R.T.E. Authority Commission, Aer Lingus, Chicago Bank, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ulster Bank, National Maternity Hospital and Irish Intercontinental Bank.