tidbits from Ireland

Ireland has so much to offer and in our ten day visit, we barely scratched the surface.  We went to play music and in the end, that was our priority.  The Fleadh, part competition, part festival, was held in Cavan Town, Co. Cavan, a lovely mid-country border area that I frankly had never heard much about.  It was absolutely captivating.  We were able to  dig into the area quite a bit with some special guided tours and some travel on our own as well before things in the music realm got really wild later in the week.

One tour we took was with local naturalist and certified Geo-park guide, Heather Bothwell who delighted us with a trek through a raised bog just down the road from where we were staying.  Most local folks we talked to thought we were nuts to see a bog as anything special, but bogs are special and worth learning about and protecting.  We had a ball walking and exploring and learning about all of the flora and fauna.  I am still going through notes and photos as to all we experienced and I may revisit these in future blog posts (or should I say bog posts) but I wanted to share what I did get into the sketchbook here which may motivate me to put more into the book in the weeks to come as I settle back into life back at home.

First off, I made a new sketchbook from a used book.  It’s stuffed with gorgeous watercolor paper and is an absolute delight to use with watercolors!

When settling into a new place I love to make a map of sorts in my book to get the lay of the land.   It’s also good to really look around and get a sense of the colors that are making the experience what it is visually.  The colors in Ireland are very different.  So one evening I started this process at the kitchen table, capturing little color studies of the things right in my field of vision at that very moment:

This would come in handy the next day when I was overwhelmed by all we had seen in the bog.  Here is the boggy spectrum:

a quick watercolor sketch of the bog as a whole…

Thanks to Heather’s pre-planning for our hike, we were able to look at a bunch of moths that she had trapped the night before and get an up-close look at them.  This is a tiger moth, like what we have here, that come from the ‘wooly bear caterpillars’.  This is a truly beautiful creature.  Then again, I have a thing for moths.

In the coming weeks I will share more of what I was able to find in Ireland.  Stay tuned in the coming months for information on an opportunity to experience some of this yourself as I am planning a travel sketch-journal workshop for – you guessed it – IRELAND!!  Part of my intention for this fleadh trip was a bit of reconnoitering for a trip there with students.  I’ve met and connected with some fabulous people over there who are artists, musicians, tour-givers, story-tellers and all around good folks.

My head is fairly spinning as I re-enter reality following what was essentially a radical sabbatical time.  I have lectures coming up and classes to teach.  I have work at the concertina shop to do and work to create in the studio and sketchbook.  I have a Mammoth quilty work to finish.  There is much to look forward to.  Grateful for the chance to share here with you!


One thought on “tidbits from Ireland”

  1. Amy, as I was driving yesterday, I heard an interview on WNKU about short intensive study abroad programs that NKU is offering. And an idea immediately popped into my head: Bogs of Ireland! At first I was thinking ecology, since that is what I do, but then I realized that bogs are woven through the whole of Irish culture–mythology, economics, art, literature, etc. Interested? Or is that a rhetorical question? I’ve left a message with the Study Abroad office today, so the ball is rolling!

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