Tag Archives: County Kerry

Finding A Husband

4 Oct

04 tarbert ferry

Last week, Husb and I crossed the Shannon River a couple of times on the Tarbert Ferry, connecting County Kerry to Clare. It’s become my favourite ferry. It’s cute. It crosses the Shannon in about 15 minutes, between power stations on each bank. On the Kerry side, in Tarbert, is a fab little cafe in the local jail and they make really nice rhubarb tart. Once we got off in Clare, we turned left onto the coast road and a succession of lovely small towns, with great food and scenery.

We pootled across The Burren and ended up in Lisdoonvarna, which was absolutely mental with bunting all over the place and throngs, yes throngs, of people surging raucously through the sunny streets. We’d gone there to find the smokehouse – I’d crawl to hell and back for the promise of  smoked salmon – but we’d ended up in the middle of the biggest matchmaking festival in Europe! Most of the potential husbands looked a couple of decades older than Husb, so I didn’t bother trading him in. We found the smokehouse and the honey roasted hot-smoked salmon is to die for.

Here’s a sketch done on the ferry, with the Tarbert power station and lighthouse in the background. It’s drawn with Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into an A5 cloth-bound sketchbook, prepared with ripped brown wrapping paper stuck in with Pritt stick. I haven’t found any glue as good as Pritt.

Big Drawing, Little Drawing.

22 Nov

Ink sketch: Cahir Conree, County Kerry, Ireland.

Last week I went to the opening of Mary-Ann Kokoska’s fabulous exhibition ‘Drawing: Land and Sky’, featuring her HUGE three-dimensional drawing installations based on the vast landscape and wild weather of Colorado USA, where she lives and teaches. Her drawings are room sized and overwhelm the viewer with their vastness and intensity.

Drawing Installation: Prickly Wrap by Mary-Ann Kokoska.

This floor to ceiling drawing at Elysium Gallery in Swansea shows her multi-layered technique, overlapping different types of paper and mylar film [mark-resist] which give extraordinary depth to the drawing and it curves out of the wall into the gallery space. Each mark is carefully considered and she can take several months to make one of these vast drawings.

Unlike me. I rarely do landscapes but now and again, when I’m off travelling, I have been known to make the occasional study. It usually takes me all of three minutes 🙂 ! And they rarely exceed an A6 page. Here are two quick scribbles I made last year during a trip to Ireland. We took a back road and crossed a mountain range on our way to Dingle in County Kerry – it’s called Cahir Conree. Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into a silk-bound A6 sketchbook.

.”]Mary-Ann’s amazing exhibition continues at Elysium Gallery in Swansea until December 23rd. Wednesday – Saturday, 12.00 – 5.00. Free entry.



The Soaked Bride of Meenagahane

23 Sep

Driving along the County Kerry coast with husband and young niece, we followed a small road down a steep, narrow valley to a tiny inlet with an old stone jetty and a few ancient cottages. A friendly geriatric collie dog ran out of one of the gardens and showed us around the tiny bay. The waves were crashing over the jetty which was covered in a thin slimy seaweed – the old dog was used to it but we skidded around all over the rough stones. While we were exploring, a wedding party in cars and a minibus pulled into the small carpark and walked down to the pier, the bride shivering in a beautiful but skimpy gown and veil. The groom was in full formal dress but everyone else was casual and there was a photographer and film cameraman with the group.

Ink sketch: The Soaked Bride of Meenagahane.


To our surprise, the bride and groom, photographer and cameraman walked to the end of the jetty, stepped into a little wooden boat and rowed to a small rocky island a few hundred yards across the bay. The happy couple clambered up to the top of the steep rock and after holding hands for a few minutes for everyone to take photographs, they leapt fully clothed off the cliff into the choppy sea. We were gobsmacked! Some of the wedding party saw our faces and came up for a chat, explaining that it’s common in Ireland for newlyweds to have their formal wedding photos on the big day and then arrange an ‘adventure’ photoshoot for another time, things like skydiving, scuba diving, bungee jumping and, as we saw, jumping off precipitous islands into the sea!


It’s challenging sketching in circumstances like this. It was cold and wet, everyone was moving around a lot and it stretched my speed drawing skills! I did these two little sketches which are very rough and I was tempted to redraw them from photos that Husb took, but I decided not to because they captured a few moments in time and a particular set of events in a very spontaneous way. I had no idea what the couple were going to do when I made the drawings, but Husb has a great video of them jumping off the island [here’s a link to it – http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=492822355829 ].


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