Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cill Rialaig Artist Residency-End of Week One

I just walk out the door of my cottage and the sights change each hour with the weather.  The cottages are perhaps 200 metres above sea level affording a spectacular view down Ballinskelligs Bay to the east and out onto the Atlantic to the west.  The clouds are the main attraction.  They change hourly creating patterns of light and shadow on the islands and peninsulas.  Sheets of rain can be seen approaching from many kilometres away.

This has been such an exciting week.  We had Hallowe'en here and although no ghosts or goblins visited the cottages, we got together with three of the other residents for a Hallowe'en party in the meeting house.  We lit a huge peat fire, drank some wine and chatted until midnight.  The light in the sky when I came up to the meeting house before our party, was so spectacular that I took a few photos with my camera braced on a nearby stone wall.  The photos captured the heart of Hallowe'en at Cill Rialaig!  it looked very spooky here.

I've been painting small works on paper using mainly black and white.  I wanted to limit the colours I used to try to capture the essence of my experience here.  It feels like I can capture the strength and wildness of the land and weather by using this limited palette.

The highlight of the week so far happened today. Rebecca and I decided to hike up the one-track road that goes past  our residency.  There is an important archeological site about 2km along.  Some concrete stones help you over the sheep fence.  It was  a hermitage in about 600AD.  Today there are only the ruins of what would have been perhaps 6 or 7 round huts and surrounding the huts are the remains of a stone wall.  There are two standing stones there.  Each is carved with a circle intersected by a cross.  As we were wandering around the site late  this afternoon, it started to rain and then we witnessed the most spectacular rainbow I have ever seen.  It was breathtaking right from the beginning.  I took a photo of one of the standing stones, with the rainbow behind it.  As time went on the rainbow became ever more intense in colour and grew wider and wider as it moved out onto the bay.  The sky darkened and the rain continued.  The rainbow shone into the bay like a bolt of lightening from  beneath the dark grey blue cloud and connected the sky and the water.  It was intensely magical.  It felt like a magnificent gift from the hermit monks who lived here, at the edge of the world, communing with God.



  1. Janice I am so enjoying following your and Rebecca's journey! And reading this post -wow-did you know that there were standing stones there? what a wild and vast place..looking forward to seeing what else it brings you-thanks for sharing!

    1. HI Jan,

      Nope I didn't know that! So what a delight to come across them. They're marked on an Ordinance Map I bought though. It's a magical journey so far. Much wilder than Tyrone Guthrie. And colder too.

  2. Love that last photo of the rocks.

  3. I'm also following your journey. Thinking of you and Rebecca drinking wine till midnight reminds me of TGC and all the fum! May great artistic things arise! Best wishes, Helen

  4. What a gorgeous post. Your new works are stunning.

  5. Fabulous photos....Looks cold though. You must have the "hang" of starting those peat fires down pat by know.....I must get to one of your workshops....I know I would learn so much....I am a lone struggler from Oakville....I enjoy your posts.