Ireland, ya beauty!

There’s a reason why Ireland is the land of the poet. It’s impossible to speak of the place with ordinary language. One must dig deep for descriptors that still will only point to the beauty evident, let alone capture it. I never understood the longing for Ireland from the Irish diaspora so prevalent in my hometown outside of Boston, but since having spent time here, I too find myself wistful when away and soon plot my return.

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Lucky for me this is my 3rd time at this remote artist residency called Cill Rialaig, and I never tire of the place. Rain or shine, it matters not. In fact the more wild the weather the better, as I venture out braced against the elements, or stay in the studio snug as a bug with my peat fire burning. 

 My cottage on the side of the cliff at Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat.

My cottage on the side of the cliff at Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat.

 Sketching the stones nearby.

Sketching the stones nearby.

The Atlantic merges here with Ballinskelligs Bay, with little to stop it until it reaches New York. I’m reminded of the early Irish immigrants who left the blight of the potato crop and risked everything to reach the shores of America. I would scarce walk far in this weather, let alone cross the ocean in a creaky boat filled with fellow starving souls with little to their name. Deep respect.

 A Celtic cross carved into a standing stone.

A Celtic cross carved into a standing stone.

I bought a mobile wifi device to connect with the outside world while I’m here - especially as I try to keep my blog posts a regular weekly feature, as well as keeping up with other social media. But the device stopped working early on, with good reason (like, disconnect from the world sometimes, will you!) So I write this from the beach cafe, a 3 mile walk down the narrow lanes, unless I can hitch a ride with one of the artists here with a car, which happens more often than not.

 Works in process in my cottage.

Works in process in my cottage.

I had been chomping at the bit to start painting since landing in London a few weeks ago, so when I first arrived here and settled in, I immediately jumped right in. Not! As often happens, I started stalling. Oh yes, I said to myself, I MUST do (fill in the blank) right now! But I know my friend Avoidance quite well by now, and said fine - BE that way, giving myself a day to catch up on various, not urgent, tasks. But Ms. Avoidance is persistent too, and tried to lure me away again, but I told her to take a walk in the wet wind and leave me to my painting. Since then, the walls have been filling up with my small paintings (a practical choice) which I will mount on to small panels when I return, and offer for Open Studios in October.

 Looking back on the road up to Bolus Head.

Looking back on the road up to Bolus Head.

I could tell many stories about my various times here (first in 2011, then again in 2015), and I might have learned a thing or two about how to spin a tale from the locals, but for now the visuals will have to do. From the hundreds of photos taken so far, here are but a few. While my words may not have the grace of Yeats or Heaney, my intention is to create some kind of poetic visual response to this glorious landscape before me.

 The morning light on Ballinskelligs Bay - view from my cottage.

The morning light on Ballinskelligs Bay - view from my cottage.

I have but a week left of my 2 week residency. Not nearly enough time. But I’m here now and that’s what matters. Every moment is precious, every shaft of light that pierces through the clouds is a blessing. 

My heart swells and falls short when it comes to words, so gratitude will have to suffice.

Thank you Ireland!

Note: The residency I’m at here is called Cill Rialaig Artist Village in southwest Ireland. If you want to know more about artist residencies and how to apply to one, check out my online course all about Artist Residencies - HERE.