Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cill Rialaig Artist Residency Week Three

The adventure of being in Ireland continues.  I begin to get into a routine of life and then it changes.  I had a wonderful visit from my friend Mary Meighan, who leads Celtic journeys in Ireland.  We walked up to the ancient monastic site just up the road from Cill Rialaig.  After spending some time in the site, Mary offered a Celtic Blessings to us for our work, blessings upon the ancestors of the land  that they might guide us and blessings to the people at home who helped us be here.  Mary and I also visited other ancient sites that day.  Part of the journey was to talk to people about where the sites are.  We searched for the holy well of a female saint and asked for help from construction workers, from the women who work in the Cill Rialaig Arts Centre and from a woman in a white hairnet who works at the Skellig Chocolate factory.  Everyone is more than eager to help if they can.  The woman in the chocolate factory knew of St. Finian's holy well across the road on St. Finian's Bay but not the other well that Mary was searching for. But she phoned her daughter, who did know.  Sadly the well isn't accessible any longer.  Part of the enjoyment in finding these ancient sites are the people you meet on the way and the stories they know.

My time here is a balance of painting and hiking and seeing the land around this area.  I often feel guilty if I'm not painting.  Yet it's the hiking, the driving the narrow winding roads, finding the ancient sites and just sitting and looking out over the sea that is deeply feeding my soul.

Rebecca and I did a strenuous hike up to the top of Bolus Head at the very end of the road that passes through Cill Rialaig.  The road ends and turns into a grassy, wet path dug deep with sheep hooves.  We had to climb a stile to make the final leg of the hike to the top.  At the top we were given  magnificent breathtaking views out over Finian's Bay and the Skellig Islands to the right and then to Ballinskelligs Bay and out onto the Atlantic beyond.  The winds were stronger up here and it was much cooler but the day was as usual very changeable.  It was gorgeous and warm at the top but on my way down, just as I neared my cottage, showers came and I was wet by the time I got home.

Today we are in Eyeries, a tiny village on the Beara Penninsula to visit Rebecca's artist friend Sally Bowker who is at the artist residency called Anam Cara.  The GPS said our trip would take 2 hours, We finally arrived 5 hours later, tired from trying to stay on the narrow winding roads while craning our necks to see the spectacular views along this section of the Ring of Kerry.

This morning Rebecca and I are off to visit the Irish artist, Charles Tyrrell, whose work I saw last year at the Royal Hibernian Gallery in Dublin.  Large abstract minimalist work. He has a studio near the little village of Allihies about 7 miles away.  And then we have many stone circles and standing stones to see before we get back to Cill Rialaig.  We may spend another night away rather than drive in the dark on the winding cliff roads.

My friend Mary Meighan's mother told her, "When God made Time, He made plenty of it."  Mary said that Celts believe in "the fullness of time, not the scarceness of it".  I'm heading out today with that attitude.

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