Posted by: jeanne | November 11, 2009

cill rialaig back when it was a ruin

lookie what i found.

i was searching thru my photo boxes for something to paint, and i came across my 25 year old photos of the west of ireland, from when i went out there with my friend francis before coming back to the states.  it was when we ran up bolus head and he showed me this abject ruin perched on the side of the mountain, a whole village of abandoned houses in the long grass.  it was spooky and it was beautiful, and the place haunted me all the time i was married and raising my kid and divorced and raising my kid.  and then i found out that it’d been bought up and renovated by someone who was quite famous back in the day.  so of course i had to go.  so i begged and pleaded and they said i could come.  and of course right in the middle of swine flu, so i begged off and changed my dates to next september.  hell or high water won’t reach that part of kerry:  i’m going.  but i’m not going to bore anyone with tales of fluctuating ticket prices.  that was too much trouble for me.  i’ve got $200o saved up, and i’m just going to buy tickets with it sometime in the summer and screw daily emails from the discount fare sites.

here are the pictures i took in 1986.


the cottage sits right at the side of the hill.  there’s a whole row of them.  note the hill – that’s why wellies are made with one heel higher than the other in kerry.


another in the row with even less thatch remaining.  just empty shells, only standing because of the excellent stonework you see at left.


the god-awful beauty of the setting is the reason why it’s haunted me for a quarter of a century.  the road winds down to ballinskelligs along the hill to the left, and curves around for a brilliant view of the bay.


looking out toward the headland.  the hillside drops precipitously to the left.  the road keeps on going up for another mile or two with nary a thing to see (except the map shows buildings) but rock walls and ocean.

here’s another artist’s view of the place (great work)

and this is what they look like now.


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