Posted by: jeanne | June 3, 2009

planning what i’ll be taking

i’m going from atlanta to the west of ireland in october, god and swine flu willing. for three weeks. to a remote cottage where i will make art for three weeks. i’ve been writing about it since i found out about the place – cill rialaig village, ballinskelligs, bolus head.

for the last month i’ve been obsessing on the swine flu, but now it’s time to get back to preparing for my residency. and i have so much to prepare.

today i printed out previous posts dealing with what i need to pack. i’m going to take them in to the studio with me and look them over and add things i’m pretty sure i didn’t put down the first time. spray bottles and plastic tubs, things like that. art supplies.

i have yet to write to my friends in ireland and ask for things i need. my artist friend diarmuid boyd, for example (i’m name-dropping), i’m going to borrow an easel from him. i want to let them know i’ll be in the country but they’re not allowed come see me, and we can meet up for dinner at my sister’s house on my way home.

tentatively i will have the 7th cottage, the last one on the right as you’re leaving the village going up to bolus head.  it’s the last cottage finished. i would say renovated, but it’s actually reconstructed from the foundations.

i found a wonderful newly posted panorama of the residency and the landscape it’s in. i sit and look at it for hours, fantasizing what it’s going to be like in the fall (stormy). and what i’m going to do. i still drool. i love google earth.

i can tell that the google maps picture is old, because it shows perhaps 5 cottages completed, and the others in ruins. the panorama shows 7 cottages and a meeting room (the meeting room is the slightly larger house with a shed on the side).

it’s nice to be up to date. perhaps they should install a webcam on the road outside the cottages so we can see what it’s like from time to time. rain. rain. rain. cloud. rain. storm.

so. to that list.



  1. Hi Jeanne,

    I’ll be much interested in your residency at Cill
    Rialaig because I want to go there too. I haven’t yet applied, but am on the verge of booking a trip with my miles.

    How difficult was it to get the residency and do you suggest planning far ahead? Right now I’m unemployed and figure the best time of year is late May, but they may be heavily booked a year ahead…. do they cover costs of room & board?
    I know very little about the place, but have Irish ancestors from County Mayo.

    I did a 3 week residency in Umbria a couple of years ago, and it was one of the best experiences of my career- very intensive painting every day, all day long.

    Wishing you joyous painting for your stay!
    ps I lived in Atlanta for 20yrs


    • hey victoria. i like your blog. i like your art. i don’t know how hard it is to get the residency because i got it, and therefore it was easy for me. (actually, it was preordained, because i was on the site 25 years ago when it was a ruin and vowed to return.) i do know that mary, the residency manager, is a wonderful, kind person who will do what it takes to set you up properly.

      i do suggest planning ahead. there are seven cottages, and they fill up fast for 2 wks to a month at a time. and of course summer is the most popular. the residency is free, they give you a cottage with electricity paid for to keep you out of the rain and cold. the food, drink, and heat are on you. also transportation. and the pint down at the pub with the other residents once a week.

      write a letter telling them about yourself, and why you want to go to the back of beyond to paint. show them your work. you can email it all if you like, or print it out and send it. there’s a committee, and they issue invitations to artists throughout the year, from what i can tell. they are very gracious and accommodating, and i’m looking forward to meeting mary and giving her a nice little present as thanks for all the help she’s been to me.

      did you know there’s a chocolate factory just over the hill on the other side of bolus head? you could walk to it. how cool is that?

      you would get tremendous amounts of work done in a place like cill rialaig. there’s nothing there but mountain, sea and sky, the nearest pub is a three mile walk down the side of the mountain, it rains all the fucking time except when it’s storming, and there’s good light in the studio. bring your music with you, and work 12 hours a day, 16 hours a day. seven days a week. except for the weekly trek to the pub with the other residents.

      but don’t book the trip until you have your dates.

      and please don’t say unemployed. that’s such an ugly work. say full time artist instead.



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