Sketching Ireland #22

Back to Dublin – Circle Complete

google-map-dublin.jpgWe are coming to end of my vicarious vacation to Ireland. The final road trip (using Street view) from Belfast to Dublin was quite scenic. I wish I could have stopped and explore more, but I must confess that I wanted to finish Sketching Ireland so that I could start my next blog project. Don’t worry, I managed to save a number of photos for later sketching subjects. Meanwhile, I went straight to Dublin.

Golfing in Dublin

During my extensive road trip through Ireland, practically every place I have seen had at least 1 or 2 golf courses. Golf being a big thing here, I was not too surprised to find 17 golf courses in Dublin.

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This is great news for those of you who want to come to Dublin for a golfing vacation. I’m not golfer like my dad, but the golf course at Howth looks challenging enough for a satisfying game.

Mending Fishnets

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Howth, by the way, is a beautiful peninsula on the northeast side of the city. Originally a small rural fishing village, Howth has grown to become a busy and comparatively affluent suburb of Dublin, with a mix of suburban residential development, wild hillside and heathland, golf courses, cliff and coastal paths, a small quarry and a busy commercial fishing port. It was on the wharf that I found some fishermen checking and mending their nets.

The Peace Tree

dublin-tree-sculpture-w.jpgFor my final sketch, I was exploring a long beach area not too far from Howth when I came upon a very unusual tree. Now, you know how much I love sketching trees and this is one tree that I had to draw. For more info about this tree, below is an article from The Journal dot Ie.

At the north-east corner of St Anne’s Park, Raheny, where Clontarf Road and Watermill Road meet, is a 10-metre tall tree.

Unmissable to anyone who passes by, what was once a dying Macrocarpa (more commonly known as Monterey cypress) has been transformed into a canvas for dozens of sculptures of wildlife.

Known as the Peace Tree and Tree of Life, the landmark came about when it was decided by Dublin City Council that the iconic tree had to be taken down for safety reasons, Dublin Inquirer reported at the time.

However, rather than getting rid of it entirely, the council hired award-winning UK sculptor Tommy Craggs to transform the tree, believed to be 200-years-old, into an eye-catching feature. Inspired by the wildlife of the park itself and nearby Bull Island, there’s something new to discover from every angle.

From an octopus spread across the base to a proud swan perched at the top, every inch of the tree has been transformed into a type of fauna. Despite appearing as though they were created with a chisel, the detailed animals were crafted with a chainsaw.

Work on the tree began in 2015, but the final three metres were not completed until June this year. Upon completion, the tree was finished with oil.

While the masterpiece can be viewed from the car while driving along Clontarf Road, it’s more than worth pulling in order to fully appreciate its true beauty.

Dublin is a city of many landmarks and attractions. Unfortunately, I am not able to sketch them all, but as I said before I’ll present more sketches down the line.

So end my Sketching Ireland vacation 2019. I hope my blog inspire you to really visit Ireland and then contact me to share your experience. Fare thee well, Emerald Isle.

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Sketching Ireland #2

Hitting the Road on an Indian

 

indian-teardrop-w.jpgWell, here we (my wife & I) are in Dublin (vicariously, of course). We’re ready to hit the road and get out of the city. Now… since, this is a fantasy vacation, I’m going to imagine a set of wheels that I have always wanted to ride in a cross country adventure, an Indian Motorcycle. Before I get any hate mail from any Harley-Davidson lovers, let me say that I would love to ride a ‘Hog’. But it was a toss up between a Harley and an Indian. My wife was the one that flipped the coin and the Indian won out. Now, my road trip fantasy is not complete without a teardrop camper fully rigged with solar panels, compact air-conditioner, kitchen galley and state of the art satellite internet retractable dish (so, we can watch Netflix and Youtube. LOL). Keep in mind, that I’m also pretending to have loads of cash.

road-map-2.jpgSo, now we have to head out of Dublin based on the tour itinerary map that I chose to follow. From Dublin, we go inland and south on the M9 Highway to the city of Kilkenny. Along the highways out of the city, the sights that I can see were mostly business and industrial parks. I figured that the residence communities were far from the noises of heavy traffic. Anyway, for Irish highways, they seem typical to highways in my own country. They’re four lanes; 2 lanes going back to Dublin and 2 going south. After spending a longwhile on these highways using the Google Street View mode, I’m making a little change on the ground rules I set for myself on my first post. To keep me from going crazy, I’m allowing myself to kinda hover above the highways and roads… giving me birds eye view. By the time we got unto the M9, the environ changed more to country settings.

BALLYTORE

Hovering over the highway gave me an opportunity to see the interesting names of towns and villages left and right of M9; villages with names like Kilgowan, Kilcullen, Narraghmore, and Crookstown. Now, in Google Earth & Maps, if there was a notable attraction, a symbolic icon would be visible when you hover. One such marker picqued my curiousity in the village of Ballytore. The village itself was nice, clean but somewhat modern. If it wasn’t for the Google marker, I probably would head back to M9.

Using Street View mode, I drove down Ballitore Hill Road then turned unto a narrow track called Abbyfield Lane. The lane started out paved and ran behind some newly built white track houses and businesses. Then, we hit a dirt road and to my delight, on the right side of the lane, I saw an old rock wall fencing what I conclude is an overgrown field and a ruin of… what looked like the entry of an even older stone church. Passing that, a broken down abandoned stone house jutted out slightly unto the gravel lane. I almost wanted to stop and sketch it but thank goodness I didn’t. We duck our heads (vicariously, of course) due to low hanging foliage, turned a bend, and finally came upon the target structure that was marked on the map.

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It was the old Ballitore Mill. Though the structure was old, there was still a good roof on it with intact windows and a solid door. I believe it was still in operation (unconfirmed) and probably electrical. One time, the mill was driven by a water wheel. If you look at the right side of my sketch, it looks like a stream used to be dammed up behind the mill then flow down unto where the water wheel would have been. To add to my drawing, I included an old style millstone.

THE BURTOWN HOUSE, GREEN BARN and GARDENS

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For my next sketch subject, I found another attraction marker across the M9 not too far from Ballytore. It’s the Burtown House, The Green Barn and Gardens. The Burtown House is an early Georgian villa surrounded by beautiful gardens, parkland walks and farmland. It is said that, ‘A visit to Burtown is one of the most rewarding days out to be found anywhere in Ireland’. Visitors are encouraged to wander the extensive gardens as well as appreciating numerous modern sculptures dotting around around the parkland. After which they can enjoy a hearty lunch at The Green Barn.

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The Green Barn, located just inside the front gates of Burtown House, is both restaurant and art gallery. It is based on old style Scandinavian barns with a New England twist, combining high ceilings, rustic textures, individual table settings, and specially designed pottery, linen and cutlery. restaurant believes in serving honest, unfussy, unpretentious food, letting the organic produce be the strength in what you eat. Seasonal ingredients are used, combining seasonal ingredients, using flavours, textures, and colours, experimenting all the time, hence offering changing menu’s that reflect what is happening in the garden.

The Green Barn’s interior spaces are rustic and contemporary, with an amazing view of the kitchen garden. Normally with different art exhibitions, large photos from the acclaimed Vanishing Ireland books, as well as sculptures from Zimbabwe and by Irish artists, with French and Dutch antiques. There is also an ever expanding array of interiors accessories, food products, books, prints and every changing objects de art.

For my sketch of the Green Barn, I chose the entrance mainly because the dog’s head is turned the same way as the logo’s fox is looking.

Funny though, for a tourist attraction, I did not see any roadside advertising billboards. Except from online, I wonder how motorists can even know about them.

For my next post, I’m temporarily going off the track (so to speak) and go east to the mountains. See ya all then.

[note: promotional contents of Burtown House, The Green Barn and Gardens are from various internet sites]
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Sketching Ireland #1

Starting Point – DublinIreland-Itinerary-Map-1100x1039.jpg

Summer in the Philippines starts after Holy Week. And this summer, I decided that I am going to IRELAND… known as the Emerald Isle… the land of the leprechauns, the shamrock, and good ol’ Saint Patrick. Oh okay, I exaggerate. I’m actually taking a vicarious tour of Ireland by Google Earth and I’ll be following a particular road trip map with the starting point at Dublin. My goal is to SKETCH from the Neck Up through Ireland.

Now, I’m putting some ground rules on myself. Since this tour is a road trip, I’ll only be exploring highways and roads that have Street View function. Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides me with interactive panoramic views. I thank the Lord for Google equipping thousands of dedicated people with specialized 360 degree cameras which they mounted on all sorts of vehicles and they roamed every highway, roads, streets, to even hiking trails all over the world. This blog is going to be both a Sketching Journal and Travel Emag.

Since this is my ‘vicarious’ vacation, I’m entering Dublin by ferry from England. Now, my plan is to start at Dublin, circumvent Ireland clockwise then end back again at Dublin. I don’t want to spend too much time there in beginning. I’ll do that on the return trip. So, as a start up, I’ll explore the center of the city at the St. Stephen’s Garden (aka St Stephen’s Green).

St Stephen’s Green is Dublin’s centre public park. At 22 acres (89,000 sqm), it is the largest of the parks in Dublin’s main Georgian garden squares. I roamed all around the park and chose 2 sketch subject.

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The first subject is the Fusiliers’ Arch monument which forms part of the Grafton Street entrance to the park. Erected in 1907, it was dedicated to the officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted men of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who fought and died in the Second Boer War (1899–1902). The main structure of the arch is granite, with the inscriptions carried out in limestone and a bronze adornment on the front of the arch. It was commissioned to commemorate the four battalions of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers that served in the Second Boer war. It lists the principal battles and locations at which the fusiliers fought: Hart’s Hill, Ladysmith, Talana, Colenso, Tugela Heights, and Laing’s Nek. The names of 222 dead are inscribed on the underside of the arch.

James-Joyce-bust-w.jpgThe second subject is a bust sculpture of a famed Dubliner, James Joyce. He was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer’s Odyssey are paralleled in a variety of literary styles, most famously stream of consciousness. He also wrote the Dubliners which is a collection of fifteen short stories, first published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.

The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by converging ideas and influences. The stories centre on Joyce’s idea of an epiphany: a moment when a character experiences a life-changing self-understanding or illumination. Many of the characters in Dubliners later appear in minor roles in Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by child protagonists. Subsequent stories deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This aligns with Joyce’s tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence and maturity. [provided by Wikipedia]

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Now, the park is adjacent to one of Dublin’s main shopping streets, Grafton Street. I thought it would be nice to sketch a busy street of shoppers. There is a shop called ‘Butlers Chocolate Café‘, Specialist chocolatier and coffee chain, serving handmade sweets, pastries and sandwiches. I hope somebody would go in and then write to me about it. Hot chocolate would be nice.

Well, in my next post, I’ll be leaving Dublin and going south on the M9 freeway.

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