Sunday, July 15, 2018

Final days in Ireland and a journey home

On the street in Dublin

Our last days in Ireland slipped by quickly.

Early one morning Mike and I trekked over to Dublin Castle and drew at an outdoor cafe. Chloe woke up and found us so we wandered through the castle grounds. After seeing so many different castles in Ireland, I have to say the Dublin one was a little standard.

Next door to the castle the local ceramic society was having an exhibit. It was quite nice to see some local art on display.

outside the archeology and history museum

   We also managed to make it out to the Archeology and History Museum, which was definitely worthwhile, if only for the bog men remains on the second floor. They also had some incredible artifacts from the Vikings and of course Ireland has an Egyptian collection (Doesn't everyone? Is there anything left in Egypt?)

Here we are finally finding the museum after getting a bit turned around.

This is a statue on the corner by our apartment. I still don't know anything about it because it's a "talking statue" which means you download an app to your phone and wave it at the symbol to get it to "talk" about itself. We didn't have a working phone, so .... No idea, but lovely to look at.

On our last morning we hauled our many suitcases down from the 4th floor walkup and caught a cab to the airport. The one I'd booked never showed, but a van sized taxi with impeccable timing brought us there without a hitch. Before we knew it we boarded our flight to Boston.

In Boston we had a 5 hour layover. Not enough time to leave the airport but plenty of time to get incredibly bored and tired as the time change caught up with us.  This is Han Solo and friends in the cockpit of a plane in Boston.

Phoebe relaxing in a rocking chair display at Boston Logan Airport.

And these are all the rain boots I unpacked never used in Ireland, thanks to their unprecedented heat wave. Of course we arrived in Phoenix 20 minutes after a massive downpour. The moral is never try to chase the weather.

Ireland was full of surprises for me, there were things I loved, like the bookstores in every little town and everywhere in Dublin. A people who embrace reading are a people I can relate to. 

The ease of traveling in a foreign country using English was also remarkable, but perversely I missed the challenge of overcoming a language barrier. 

The lack of air conditioning was not really a bother because even though the temperature was mid eighties (ºF) it was still cooler for us and I wouldn't expect a/c. 

I did expect ice cubes and the ability to make ice (no ice trays), which is apparently was something I was already supposed to know about Ireland and the UK (but seriously, they have ice in Morocco, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Canada.)

The one thing that surprised me the most was that Ireland had the worst wifi of any country I've ever visited. I know you're thinking....You were in a cottage at a castle in the countryside! Except we were also in an apartment in Stillorgan, an apartment in Dublin and inside Dublin airport.... All I can say is that it was a bit faster than dial up in year 2000.

Mike's drawing of the castle gate at Shankill Castle

I really did love our visit there and all the people (and animals) we spent time with. Ireland will always be a special place for us.

Friday, July 13, 2018

In the middle of it all in Dublin

Ha' Penny Bridge 
       Our apartment was on the north side of the River Liffey and next to the Ha' penny bridge. The Ha' penny Bridge is officially the Liffey Bridge and was built in 1816. It's called the Ha' penny bridge because it used to cost pedestrians a hay penny to cross it. I know this because double decker tour buses passed by our window all day long announcing this information, usually in English. Then the French one would come, then the German one and well you get the idea.....

Once we crossed the bridge we could wander the very touristy district of Temple Bar. It was nearly always packed with people except in the early morning. We really enjoyed being in this bustling international part of the city.

The girls and I using "other" bridge, that's newer, not as crowded and wasn't as pretty, but only 100 feet from the Ha' Penny bridge.

Right away on our first full day in Dublin, we walked over to The National Gallery of Ireland. It's free and full of amazing classical art.

It was nice because inside was cooler and the heatwave had not let up.

Chloe and Phoebe in the portrait gallery.

Mike at the National Gallery studying a painting.

I really loved this impressionist painting of a woman with geese. Though I learned while staying on the farm at Shankill Castle that geese are kind of scary... Too many teeth for a bird and that hissing thing they do is very unnerving!

A wide shot of the portrait gallery.

Two amazing paintings of north Africa, which brought me right back to last years art residency in Morocco. I think I actually got emotional looking at them, unfortunately this is not a good, or clear image...

This is Rosa Bonheur's painting of a stag. She is fascinating because this amazing artist liked to paint animals in settings like the bog, but couldn't manage in the long bulky dresses of this time, so she had to get a special license to paint wearing men's trousers. Crazy!!

Chloe with an incredible mosaic on the street.

After many hours of trying to see everything we were pretty done with looking at art for the day. We stopped off at a burrito place for Chloe, who decided that experimenting with Ireland's take on Mexican food was a good idea. Then we headed back to our four story walkup and listened to the history of the Ha' Penny Bridge in Italian.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Last Days at the Castle

Our last few days at the castle went by with a blur. Not just because time has this tendency to speed up when you're my age, but because we were invited to the castle for a lovely goodbye from Elizabeth and Jeffery Cope and my wine glass stayed quite full no matter how much I drank.

That last night it was decided that I would leave my book project in their care to be displayed at Shankill Castle's "Festival of the Arts" in August. Mike will be creating some prints from his Ireland sketchbook (which is amazing and nearly full) and shipping them back to be in the show.

Naomi had made a strong connection with the animals and took a day to say goodbye. This is the little hen that showed up at our door on a regular basis. She liked this one because she let Naomi pet her.

These are the horses, and one young colt from up the road. Mike and I spent the last week drawing them each day till they started coming over to greet us.

The very friendly bull who was right near our cottage.

This is the shy sheep who lived with and was pushed around by the bull.

And of course, Naomi said goodbye to Wally, Reuben and Ellen Cope's little kitten, who happens to bear a close resemblance to our kitten, Gigi.

This is all of us with Ellen in the cottage the morning we left. We all piled into a car and the suitcases were in a van they just bought with Mike and Eugene (Elizabeth's brother who's just moved back from Australia) and Chloe. Following behind them we saw the door hadn't closed properly and was swinging open, so Jeffery went on a high speed chase down the narrow, and winding country roads to get them to pull over. It was really intense, but nothing fell out!!

And a group shot of everyone at the train station.

From our window

We managed to get on and off the train without incident. Finding a taxi was a bit of a challenge but two small cabs loaded us up and brought us to our airbnb. It's a nice apartment in the middle of the city, but a 4 story walk up, which was a bit nightmarish with all our luggage.

Naomi on the Ha' Penny Bridge

From our door is the famous Ha' Penny bridge and the Temple Bar district.

Right away on the first day we took a walk around.

Mike just had to get a picture of this place. :)

Unfortunately on our walk through Stephen's Green on that very first night here in Dublin, Phoebe dropped her iphone near a famine statue. She completely smashed it, the screen, and  the phone. If it wasn't so upsetting it would be impressive. She lost all her pictures she took of Ireland, as she didn't back them up. She bought that phone with money from her caricature jobs this year and understandably she's been pretty down since it happened.

Naomi by the waterfront

On the plus side Dublin is an exciting place to be and the weather has cooled nicely. We're really looking forward to getting out and exploring.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Irish sea and Carlow Castle

A few days ago Phoebe and Chloe and I went out to the Irish sea.

It's been warm here as it's the first drought and heatwave for this region in 20 years!!

It was a nice little town and harbor and then Jeffery and Elizabeth (our hosts), took us over to where they used to rent a cottage years ago.

Jeffery and all of us by the seaside.

The girls have been blending in well in Ireland. When they go out together walking people will stop them and ask directions, I guess they look like locals! 
Also, in the last few days, I've managed to finish up my project I've been working on.

These are some of the interior pages

Another section.

And since it's 10 pages long and the server here is painfully slow I promise to share the rest later.

I also sculpted the back cover with a tower.

And painted a dragon for the front cover. Anyway it will be part of a big show in the gallery here next summer. Until then I'll bring it back with me to Arizona.

This afternoon Mike, Chloe and I got to spend some time exploring Carlow.

It's a nice little city that's on an island between two rivers, so there are many bridges, and lots of swans.

Chloe and I on one of the bridges.

It's a bit hard to see, but there's a waterfall near the buildings in this photo.

Mike and Chloe by the swans.

We also went to see Carlow Castle (or what's left of it).

It really just a ruin.

Though it was a fascinating one!

In this illustration you can see what the castle used to look like. It was built in the 13th century by William Marshall, so it's incredibly ancient. Then in 1814 a crazy doctor, by the name of Dr. Middleton leased the castle so he could use it as an insane asylum. He decided the walls of the castle needed to be thinner, so he set explosives and blew up most of the castle and himself!! 

As a ruin it's pretty amazing to explore.

I only wish we had time to draw it, but definitely worth a visit!

With the heat the way it's been our mouse situation here in the cottage has been getting a bit out of control. Naomi stepped on one the other night and today when we got back from Carlow she'd managed to trap one in the kitchen with a bowl! Anyway it's been an adventure. The day after tomorrow we head back to Dublin and say goodbye to our little cottage here and the friends we've made at the castle. I think we'll all be sad to go.
"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...