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Painting Through the Irish Countryside
Barbara Prey painting at Glendalough
I have a major museum commission for MASS MoCA , but before I came back to my New York Studio to begin the project, I went on a painting trip to Ireland. I began in Doolin, a small town well known for its music. Doolin is a good starting point to explore the surrounding area of the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. I stayed at the Ballanacky Hotel just outside of town. The hotel is now run by the third generation in the family and sits atop a hill with commanding views of the Cliffs of Moher and the ocean. As guests of the hotel we were able to get a private tour of the castle keep from the owners that dates from the 1300’s and sits next to the hotel. The castle was partly in ruin, but for me it was a unique opportunity to climb through and up a keep and see how it was built. We were able to visit the various rooms and floors which one would never been able to do on a public visit. There are hundreds of such castles in Ireland, most of them built on hilltops where wind and rain are powerfully felt. I tried to paint it the next morning but it started to rain and I was only able to do the under-drawing as my watercolor would just be washed away. I then went off to paint the Cliffs of Moher, but the wind was so strong it blew over my water and brushes. I was able to do a quick study. I returned to Doolin to paint the colorful buildings of the town but again was interrupted by rain – so it was back to the hotel to paint their views.
Cliffs of Moher, watercolor on paper 9″ x 12″
A highlight of this visit was a walk through the Burren with Shane – a local farmer – arranged by the hotel. He shared his knowledge of the wildflowers, herbal remedies, Irish history and politics on our way to a Stone Fort at the top of the Burren. The walk was breathtakingly beautiful, as were the views, and having the local connection made it special. Conversations with the owner of the Ballanacky Hotel and with Shane about Ireland made it more personal and insightful.
Adare, watercolor on paper 9″ x 12″
On the way to Dingle I stopped in the town of Adare and stayed at the Dunraven Arms Hotel. Queen Anne and U.S. Ambassadors have been guests, and the appeal for me was that the hotel was on the main street in town. I was again able to walk across the street to paint the houses in the morning as well as views of the town, and to draw from one of the inside windows when the weather changed without having to lug my painting supplies. I am up and out early to paint not only because of the light, but also because I can perch on a wall or sit on a bench and not be disturbed. This is a recommend for afternoon tea.
I was looking forward to returning to Dingle, which I had visited many years ago, and painting. I drove the Slea Head loop, which was breathtaking. If you are going to do any loop in Ireland, I would recommend this over the Ring of Kerry which is much longer an居家推油千花坊