Posted by: jeanne | November 4, 2010

from my travel journal 1

excerpts from the journal i kept while on residence at cill rialaig, county kerry, ireland, in september of 2010.

thursday 9/2.  getting my checked bags thru security went off without a hitch, despite my rigorous preparations (inventory, numbered ziplocks).  it was a couple of pounds over the 50 lbs i was allowed, but after taking my watercolor paper back out it was under, and i somehow wedged the pad of paper into my carryon.  when i got thru customs in dubin i discovered that all my preparations with my checked luggage were for naught – they never opened the bag to check all those liquids and powders and sharp objects i was carrying.  so, fine.

[snip. lots of running around dublin seeing people and getting things i need]

`a small little boreen (boithrin) in the back of beyond

friday, 9/10.  the trip to kerry was frightening, not only from sitting on the left and driving on the left – so very close to the edge, but also from my driver driving so much faster than i’m used to.  it rained most of the way, heavy rain.  but it let up while i got last minute things in cahirciveen and while i unpacked the car at the cottage.

first thing i did the next morning after my driver left was to rearrange everything in the cottage.  the kitchen, the studio and living room, the bedroom, even the bathroom got changed around.  i went walking up the hill, and took loads of pictures of the village, the sea and the headlands, the clouds.  i’m looking forward to starting something of walls or the hills tomorrow.  for today i started a watercolor of the cottage next door, actually the laundry house.

the laundry house, right up the hill from my cottage

then took a walk to see where the earthworks are that i spotted on satellite picture – it’s possibly a garden because there are plant pots in racks near the front gate.  and then, unexpectedly, i had a long talk with my next door neighbor who arrived the day before.  we sat out until the rain came, watching the clouds proceed from the brow of bolus head.  i noticed while setting everything up today that the silence was ringing, so i kept putting music on, first gavin bryars, then karl jenkins, then laurie anderson.  earlier, when my driver was still here, we settled on the goldberg variations, after trying dire straits, the beatles and deprez.  i made my first loaf of bread and had some, and my first pint of guinness, sitting on the rock in front of the cottage watching the waves come by.

my cottage.  note the cloud creeping down the hill toward us.  see huge big suv that brought all my stuff. thanks, driver

saturday, 9/11.  first played A3 and then the symphony of psalms.  with wind from the north and sun amidst the clouds.

monday 9/13.  will it get to that?  just had the strong feeling, at the palette trying to unwrap my paint container after 2 days, that i was actually left handed, and while bending to the table, that i needed to turn my head around to the back because my back was my front.  physical feelings.

first chance to paint since i started a painting of the village for my sister.  the pictures out the back door, and the wee sheepie are only in the first stages.

i’ve had visitors.  the great tragedy of the last few days is the curry sauce i spilled all over myself and the rented car on the way home from cable o’leary’s.  the rented car was fine, tho how i got curry sauce on the back window i’ll never know.  the curry sauce got on my sister’s pants, and only knowing that turmeric is fugitive keeps me from panic.  i’ve washed them twice and soon you won’t see it, please god.

this morning when d and e and f left, they took me and the trash into town, where i deposited it most discretely (explaining to them that even tho nobody was there, doesn’t mean we were unobserved.  i learned that one with leeks at anamoe, which i’ll never live down, this being ireland and people having prodigious memories, unlike myself.)  i went down to the siopa to `pay my electricity bill, 25 euros a week, and it was blustery but dry.  at times walking back i had to lean into the wind, and clomp down the road.  supposedly 3 miles, it took me an hour to walk back, so closer to four.

dun geagan has a pub and newsagents, a public laundry and a cute dinky cotage.  ballinskelligs has a pub, and rumored petrol station and newsagents (meaning mini grocery) which i didn’t go down that road.  by the time i got a lift back from the bottom of the hill, from michael the cleaning guy who fixed a second tragedy of the weekend (my stove) i found myself both hungry and sleepy, so i had a piece of toast and some tea and went to bed for two hours.  at which point the sun was out on the water and i felt much better, so went and finished laying in the shapes on susie’s painting of the village.

my sister’s painting of cill rialaig village, in the early stages.  oil on linen


  1. Your sister’s painting is ovely- I look forward to seeing yours.


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