Ireland – Day 7


“It only rains twice a week in Ireland, the first time for three days, the second time for four days.” Olcan

I now am more convinced than ever of my Irish heritage, they love to tease with a twinkle in their eye, and they cannot spell worth a damn. Clew Bay is spelled as Clewbay on some directional signs, and the town of Mulranny can be found spelled 5 different ways on road signs. Of course if I had to spell in Irish (Gaelic) I would be really confused. That may be the reason I believe “spell checker” is man’s greatest invention.
Today we go to the Island of Achill, Ireland’s largest island. There we find graveyards, castles, flowers, cliffs beaches, villages, sheep, boats and landscapes to paint or photograph. We start a little slow since we spent the evening before listening to Olcan in a “session” at a local pub. There were 6 musicians altogether, including a famous harpist who was on holiday from Dublin to visit her parents. A wonderful evening.
Our typical day is to find on interesting spot, spend an 1 ½ to 2 hours sketching and shooting and then move to another. Frequent stops to potty or grab a snack to eat. Yesterday, our last stop was at a Pub in a village on Achill. Conversation: Me to Olcan, “What were you drinking last night?” Olcan, “Ginger Ale, I had to get up early for the group.” Man listening, “Were you in a Public House?” Olcan, “Yes.” Man, “Then you drink.” Unfortunately, I can only record my visual experiences; I really wish I could record my audio too. The wonderful lyric voices of the Irish and their simplistic way of putting things cannot be replicated in the written word nor in movies or on TV.
There are a lot of abandon homes and buildings here. Property is very expensive; my home would be worth at least three as much in Ireland. So why so many abandon homes? They were left, and still owned, by families who emigrated during the famine. Olcan is teaching us to read the landscape. He calls this Timescapes. They are the Celtic mounds, famine ridges, standing stones, along with the obvious abandon abbeys and ancient cemeteries and castle ruins. No wonder the Irish enjoy life so much, they are constantly reminded of how brief life can be.
It was a wonderful day, very overcast, perfect for photographers, and if the painters want clouds and blue, they can add it later. The day ended with the three photographers projecting their images on a screen for Becky to critique, all eight attended. The critique was good but the craic was better, the next day Billie told me her stomach ached from laughing so hard.

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