Some might say you must be particularly desperate to drive an hour and a half for a bath.
Usually I would agree, but what about if it also involved sitting in a massive steamy Edwardian box? …and the bath water was brown and slimy?Wash that down with an ice cold shower and your Kilcullen’s seaweed bath experience is complete.
I highly recommend it! Although sketching in the bath is definitely no walk in the park. Particularly when weighted down with seaweed.Again! Again!
The top of Croagh Patrick has been covered in a tiny toupee of mist for most of the week, giving me a fantastic excuse not to walk up it.Today, although it was a grey day, the summit was surprisingly clear. So I had to find a new reason.
At the foot of the mountain, I consulted with Holy Mary through the medium of sketch. When she turned into Fanny Craddock on my page, I took it as a clear sign that heading to the summit spelled doom.I abandoned the disastrous sketch and opted to do the Murrisk loop. A lovely walk with plenty of sketching and no slippery scree.
After my run in with Mary, I went subtle on St Patrick’s face.The views of Clew Bay are excellent. Even the sheep agree. Here’s Clare Island and the beautiful spit of Betra Beach.Down in the village I finally got to see the Fisherman’s Memorial. Those cyclists took off pretty quickly. Must have been the way I looked at them! My personal pilgrimage could only end at the Sheebeen with a bottle of Westport, Mescan.
The track to the deserted village on Achill Island is blinding white.
The sparkling Quartzite from the former stone quarry sits in stark contrast to the pitch black of the peat brick wigwams drying in the sun.The village itself is silent, save for the twitter of little brown bog birds and the odd ‘baa’ of the horny sheep.Around the bend, a little way on, we are faced with bus-loads of tourists in the not-so-deserted part of of the village.
I’m all sketched out so I make my way through the huffing puffing crowds.
If you are heading this way I definitely recommend setting off from the famous ‘lost beach‘, in Dooagh. Particularly since they’ve found it again now!
Westport House was owned for centuries by the descendants of the pirate queen, Granuaile and is built on the site of her ancient castle.On the way down to Grace’s dungeon a young girl ran at me whispering in a loud hiss ‘this house is haunted!!’ I swear I saw the ghostly figure of the pirate queen in a swan pedalo.That was not as spooky as the fantastic ‘party waxwork room’ full of Irish artistic talent. Their eyes follow you everywhere to the sound of the fiddle… I wasn’t sticking around to add colour!I calmed down with coffee and cake in the tea room. Trying not to think about what those massive hooks on the ceiling were for. I’m sure that stag just winked at me!
Clare Island is home of the pirate queen Grace O’Malley (Granuaile). The ferry to the Island has a super quick turn around – 30 seconds and the car has disembarked via crane!Grace’s 16th Century castle looms over the harbour.It’s a gorgeous walk to the lighthouse at the North of the Island.Sadly, the lighthouse is gated off, so I have to peer over the wall. Grace is buried in the Abbey graveyard on the south of the Island. There is an eerie mist hanging on the hill behind. I can hear a crying child… but there is no one there. Exhausted, I manage one final quick sketch before the ferry arrives.I’ll dream of plunder and sketching tonight!
Traditional watercolour landscapes are not my forte, but this stunning spot in the graveyard above Killary Harbour fjord gave me itchy aqua brushes. Sometimes you just have to try!Beach-watching and sunburn at Lettergesh.
After being bombarded with rain drops the size of apples at Aashleagh falls, I was relieved to stand, legs akimbo and dry my trousers at the Doo Lough famine memorial.
The weather continued to race through this sobering spot where hundreds died in 1849.
The shafts on sunlight in the foreground of my sketch had almost fled by the time I’d finished.