Sketching Ireland #12

A Horse is a Horse, Of Course… Of Course

We are back on the road again. Leaving Blarney, we get back on the N22 highway going west. Our next leg is to the Kilarney National Park.

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Now, that is a long ride especially if you are on a fantasy motorcycle towing a teardrop trailer. So, as I follow the N22 in Google Earth [GE], I’m going to make a number of short stops.

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My first stop is a sketch about a school that not only teach you how to ride horses but on how to perform majestically on them in equestrian competitions. The Lee Valley Equestrian Centre is a family oriented full service equestrian centre, which strives to offer programs suitable for every rider in the family, and some that might even tickle the fancy of the non rider! They offer a riding school for all ages; Natural Horsemanship & Livery; Dressage for exhibitions and competition; Horse trekking through quiet roads and much more. [content from their website]

The sketch above also gives me an opportunity to describe the process of how I made up the final composite. Let’s look at the map again. If you notice on the Google map, I marked out 2 black dots. One dot is closest to the N22 (Lee Valley Equestrian Centre) and the other (Carrigadrohid Castle) is about 2 miles north of the equestrian school. So, how did I choose this 2 clearly unrelated destinations into one drawing?

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First things first, as a practice, when I’m on GE, I basically check out markers closest to the road I’m following. In this case, about a mile north of N22 [#1], I was attracted to a photo marker [#2]. When I clicked on the marker, I got the photo [#3] with the label, Lee Valley Equestrian Centre. Two things clicked for me, I love horses and ruins. However, because Sketching Ireland is also a travel blog, I needed to identify where that picture was taken. Now, most photo markers pinpoint the spot where the photo was taken. But by looking closer at the satelite view [#2], it does show the equestrian centre with it’s large indoor riding arena, 50 acres of grass and large stables… but NO bridge, no ruins in the nearby vicinity. So, what I did next was googled the Lee Valley Equestrian Centre and found both a website and Facebook page. I quickly ‘Messager-ed’ them to inquire about the photo and got an immediate respond which I appreciated. The photo was taken when the school took a number of students horse trekking to the Carrigadrohid Castle about 2 miles north of the centre. The castle itself sits in the middle of the river [#4].

So, if you are travelling that part of Ireland, please drop by the Lee Valley Equestrian Centre and have some fun.

Google map link to Lee Valley Equestrian Centre
Google map link to Carrigadrohid Castle

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Sketching Ireland #11

Kissing the Blarney Stone?

Cork is suppose to be the 4th leg of our itinerary tour of Ireland.

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Cork, just inland from Ireland’s southwest coast, is a university city with its centre on an island in the River Lee, connected to the sea by Cork Harbour. It is written that Cork is easy to get around on foot and there’s an incredible energy about the city. No matter what day of the week, or what time of year, Cork is a hive of activity. The streets are busy with locals and tourists alike, the sound of live music fills the air, there are some fantastic restaurants, cafés and pubs, and there are so many things to do in Cork city that you will have more than enough to keep you entertained. But alas, I have decided to by pass the city and go straight to an adjacent town of Blarney.

There, we will find the famed Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone.

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Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftans, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures. Now that might have something to do with the Blarney Stone, the legendary Stone of Eloquence, found at the top of our tower. Kiss it and you’ll never again be lost for words. [content by blarneycastle.ie]

Realisticly, I would not have been able to climb those ancient stone steps to the castle’s battlements and then bend my back, hang my head over a gaping hole some 60 feet high and then kiss a stone embedded on the battlements’ overhang. In my sketch of the castle, the highest point is the battlement and you’ll notice on the facing side is a jutting overhang. That is where the Stone of Eloquence is found.

The Blarney Tree

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You know how much of a tree hugger I am, so when I discovered this gigantic tree in the forest area of the castle grounds, I had to draw it. What I heard is that the tree is actually a Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata). This tree is only about 100 years old and is indigenous to North America, introduced to Britain and Ireland in 1853 by William Lobb.

Fishing in Blarney

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As I was vicariously driving around the grounds, I came upon a scenic stream with (in my opinion) an aesthetically attractive tree. While sketching the scene, I felt it needed something. So, I included a father and his son leisurely fishing away. I wonder if fishing in the Blarney Castle’s ground is allowed.

Some Changes

In my next post, I am going west to the 5th leg of our itinerary tour of Ireland. However, I am going to make some changes. For one thing, my Sketching Ireland posts will be a lot shorter but a little more frequent. So, on the way to the next leg, I’m going to make a couple of stops. See you then.

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Sketching Ireland #10

Walking Downtown Waterford

When visiting Waterford, Viking Triangle would be the first place to see starting with Reginald’s Tower right at the river’s edge. You can’t miss it. Just as the main river-side avenue turns right into Parnell Street, look for a medieval tower which is also the site of the first tower built by Vikings after 914. Reginald’s Tower is Waterford’s landmark monument and Ireland’s oldest civic building. Re-built by the Anglo Normans in the 12th century the top two floors were added in the 15th century. Until about 1700 the tower was the strong point of the medieval defensive walls that enclosed the city. The tower now houses an exhibition on Viking Waterford and is managed by the Office of Public Works. The tower, by the way, happen to form the apex of the triangular settlement, an area known to this day as the Viking Triangle.

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I would have loved to sketch it except I was more attracted to an authentic replica of a viking warship which visibly sat right next to the tower. For fun, when I drew the ship, I decided to include History Channel’s The Vikings’ character image of Ragnar Lothbrok played by Travis Fimmel.

From the viking ship, walk down a narrow lane (Bailey’s New St.) about 2 blocks, past an old abby, you’ll find 2 museums (Medieval Museum & Bishop’s Palace) that are part of the Viking Triangle. These museums including Reginald’s Tower houses treasures from loot by Viking sea pirates, Norman invaders of the Medieval era and Waterford’s prize collections of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

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For my sketch subject, I chose a pair of bronze viking thrones ornately sculpted to depict a viking warrior and a shield maiden. These seats are open for tourists to sit on and you can find them in a plaza in front of the Bishop’s Palace Museum.

From the museums, I decided to do a Street-View exploration of the surrounding neighborhood. I was on Broad Street corner Peter Street, when I found, to my delight, the Bagel Factory.

 

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Make my order: 2 onion bagels, lightly toasted to golden brown, a thick spread of cream cheese, 3 thick strips of bacon… let’s make that 6 strips instead and 2 eggs fried over easy. Oh boy… yum.

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Just down a block from the Bagel Factory, I found a corner that I could not hesitate but sketch not because of the Spokes bike shop or even the Sweet Corner found there. I chose it for my sketch subject because of the wall art.

Okay, I’m leaving Waterford and driving west along the coast to Cork.

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Sketching Ireland #9

Waterford & Wexford Counties

We are finally getting into the third leg of my Irish itinerary adventure. I need to clarify that Sketching Ireland is again a fantasy vacation. I am a quadriplegic vicariously driving through the highways of Ireland. How? I thank the Lord and Google for a fantastic internet virtual programs called Google Earth & Maps. You see, when I implement Google’s Street View program, I get a 360 degree picture of the place I’m exploring. It is like I am almost there. I am doing this for fun and also as a way to promote myself as a graphic illustrationist and as a virtual assistant.

Anyway, from Kilkenny (our last stop), we go back on the M9 and head south. I don’t mind saying that I was really tempted to make several stops. Google Earth displayed several markers to say that there may be interesting attractions there. But I decided to stay the course and head straight to Waterford. The M9 ended at the River Suir which was the natural boundary between County Kilkenny and County Waterford. We crossed the river on a very modern bridge unto a highway that hugged the river to another highway that goes into the city.

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[1] Waterford, which means in old Norse as “ram fjord”, started out as a Viking settlement back in 853 AD. It is said that the city is the oldest, historical and quite an upbeat city in the sunny south-east Ireland (www.ireland.com). This is definately a must see place, however, we are not going into city just yet.

My Ireland Itinerary Plan suggest we first head to the coast to Hook Head which is actually across the river in another county (Wexford). How do we get there? By ferry, of course!

[2] Passage East Ferry

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So, we circumvented Waterford using the by-pass expressway that is south of the city to a fishing village called Passage East. That is where we catch the ferry that frequently crosses the River Suir. Because I love ferries, well sketching one was a no brainer.

[3] Hook Lighthouse, Co. Wexford

From the ferry, we head south to a narrow peninsula to the village of Churchtown on Hook Head. Driving farther down from Churchtown, we followed a two-lane road to the rocky tip of the peninsula where we found the oldest working lighthouse in the world. This is clearly a tourist destination complete with guided tours, rest rooms, restaurant and even handicap access. There were a number of photos of the lighthouse and waves breaking on a rocky shores. I decided to hold off on sketching this scene for later but instead I opted to make a thunbnail sketch and place it on the map.

Upon driving toward the lighthouse, I noticed (via Street-View) a camper parked off the road. Seeing no no-camping signage anywhere, I wonder about boondocking here overnight. Afterall, I am vicariously towing a souped up off-the-grid teardrop trailer. Ah… imagine waking up to gulls squacking and waves crashing.

[4] An Abandoned Cottage in Graigue Little

 

WF-graigue-cottage-w.jpgOn the way back to where the ferry is, I turned off unto the wrong country road. Fortunately, I was happy to find an abandoned cottage which was practically overgrown with foliage. This was a definate sketch subject. (By the way, the kid on the bike is a re-use.)

[click here for Google Map STREET-VIEW link]

[5] Fishing Boat

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My next sketch subject is a fishing boat that was moored at the same fishing village where the ferry took me across the river.

[6] Wedding on the Island

On my way back to Waterford, I came upon a small island east of the city. It had no other name except “The Island”. Frankly, I was hoping for an Irish name or even a Viking one. The island had a 16th-century castle that was converted into a classy hotel and an extensive golfing range through out most of the island. The island was also a popular wedding destination. Access here is by a small ferry.

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I was only attracted to it because Google Earth was displaying a great many photo markers, two of which caught my attention and I did not hesitate to combine into one sketch subject.

In my next posting, we’re going into Waterford.

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Sketching Ireland #7

Said to be Most Beautiful Castle in Ireland

When in Kilkenny, the must see attraction is the Kilkenny Castle.

kilkenny-castle-1-w.jpgThe castle was built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several route-ways. It was a symbol of Norman occupation and in its original thirteenth-century condition it would have formed an important element of the defenses of the town with four large circular corner towers and a massive ditch, part of which can still be seen today. Few buildings in Ireland can boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Kilkenny Castle.

Explore the Castle   Kilkenny Castle.jpgFounded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, the Castle had been rebuilt, extended and adapted to suit changing circumstances and uses over a period of 800 years. The castle’s website (kilkennycastle.ie) provided an artist’s impression of what the medieval castle would look like. As time went by, the castle eventually deteriorated to ruin and abandoned. The property with its ruins was transferred to the people of Kilkenny in 1967 for only about £50.

The Lord Ormonde sold the abandoned castle to the Castle Restoration Committee for a ceremonial £50, with the statement: “The people of Kilkenny, as well as myself and my family, feel a great pride in the Castle, and we have not liked to see this deterioration. We determined that it should not be allowed to fall into ruins. There are already too many ruins in Ireland.” He also bought the land in front of the castle from the trustees “in order that it should never be built on and the castle would be seen in all its dignity and splendour”.

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Today, Kilkenny Castle is open to the public all year round and is largely a Victorian remodeling of the thirteenth century defensive Castle. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to see this grand country house and walk through its fifty acres of rolling parkland with mature trees and an abundance of wildlife. Other features include a formal terraced rose garden, woodlands and a man-made lake, which were added in the nineteenth century. There is also a tearoom, playground and several orienteering trails for visitors to enjoy.

There are ornamental gardens on the city side of the castle, and extensive land and gardens to the front. It has become one of the most visited tourist sites in Ireland. Part of the National Art Gallery is on display in the castle.

Rose Garden

kilkenny-castle-diana-w.jpgLocated on the north-west side of the castle is a formal garden with axial paths radiating from a central fountain retains much of the basic form that could have been there during the ducal period. The existing fountain is probably the base of an original seventeenth-century water feature. Two lead statues stand on pedestals near the castle: one is of Hermes after the original in the Vatican Collection, and the other is of Diana the Huntress. All of the garden features, including the terracing, have been recently restored.

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For my sketch subject, I focused mostly on the fountain. The fountain sculpture is that of three mermaids. I decided to frame it and put on the foreground the sculpture and 2 tourists.

Castle’s Parkland

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The Castle’s Parkland is south of the castle and is made up of fifty acres of rolling parkland with mature trees and an abundance of wildlife. Other features include woodlands and a man-made lake, which were added in the nineteenth century. There is also a tearoom, playground and several orienteering trails for visitors to enjoy.

In this sketch, I mostly drew in people enjoying the park. Like the fountain sketch, I thought it would be cool to frame it and a few folks on the foreground (again).

The Watch Tower

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Canal Square is just below the Rose Garden on the banks of the River Nore. My sketch shows a small watch tower (gate lodge) stands guard to a wide public walkway that goes along the river that eventually circumvent the entire castle and parkland property.

In my next post, we’ll finish our time in Kilkenny by exploring the Medieval Mile.

[Contents are mostly from Wikipedia and kilkennycastle.ie]

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Sketching Ireland #6

Kilkenny – At Last!

LOL! We’re finally completing the first leg of the itinerary that I’m following based on a travel blob by Wanderlust Crew. We’re getting into Kilkenny Ireland. Technically, the first leg should have taken only a few hours drive on the M9 from Dublin, but with my detours… hahaha… we’re about 5 days later, give or take (vicariously, of course).

Kilkenny, which means “church of Cainnech”, may be the smallest city in Ireland, but for a time during the 17th century Kilkenny was unofficially the capital of Ireland. Built on both banks of the River Nore, this 400 year plus city is a tourist destination, and its environs include historic buildings such as Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral and round tower, Rothe House, Shee Alms House, Black Abbey, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Town Hall, St. Francis Abbey, Grace’s Castle, and St. John’s Priory. Kilkenny is also known for its craft and design workshops, the Watergate Theatre, public gardens and museums. Annual events include Kilkenny Arts Festival, the Cat Laughs comedy festival and music at the Kilkenny Roots Festival. [contents from Wikipedia]

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Before we head in to the city, we’re making a quick stop at the Paddy’s Country Pub just off the M9 for a late breakfast or a brunch. Based on Tripadvisor dot com, a commentary recommended Irish Bacon and Cabbage. I loved sketching this pub. The front all the way up to the roof was covered with a thick vine foliage.

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google-maps-kil2.jpgAfter breakfast, we got back on the M9 and because I’m using the hover mode on Google Earth/Map, I can see that I have two exit the M9 and take the N10 into Kilkenny.

If this was an actual vacation and not a vicarious one, I would not want to bring my towed tear drop camper into a busy city. So, we needed to find someplace to camp. Fortunately, after doing some googling, I found the Tree Grove which was south of the city and conveniently just off the N10. The campground was the only one listed in the area. After ditching the trailer, we got back on the N10 and work our way back to the North side of the city to meet up with some people.

Kilkenny is divided by the River Nore. We drove around the eastern side of the city which happened to be quite modern. Most of the touristy stuff is on the western side. We were in the Newpark district when we drove by a marsh.

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The Newpark Fen or Marsh is a diverse habitat with open water and a rich variety of bird, mammal, plant and insect species. It was designated an area of scientific interest and is recognised as being of local scientific importance. It is a most important natural reserve with no less than 49 different species of birds identified to date and more than 70 species of plants, trees and shrubs. It includes a bird feeding area, wildlife information boards, a 2km circular walk and a wheelchair accessible walkway. In my sketch of the marsh, I included an Irish duck on the foreground. After the marsh, we head for the river.

The River Nore is a 140-kilometre (87 mi) long river. Along with the River Suir and River Barrow, it is one of the constituent rivers of the group known as the Three Sisters. After it flows through the city it will eventually end up emptying into the Celtic Sea way far south. When you have a river like the Nore in a tourist city, what can you expect? Kayaking!

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By the way, those people we’re meeting, happen to be my brother and his wife. That’s them in my sketch. Well, in reality, that’s their faces on the bodies of actual kayakers on the actual River Nore. Supposedly, they would have leisurely kayaked down the river under bridges and past the Kilkenny Castle then land near the campground. Meanwhile, as we crossed the Green’s Bridge again, I spotted a giant sundial.

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It is the Monumental Sundial entitled Arch and Sundial in the garden beside Green’s Bridge. The Arts Council (sometimes called the Arts Council of Ireland) commisioned artist Brian King to mark the success of Kilkenny in the Tidy Towns competition in 1985. A nearby plaque tells the user how to read the sundial and how to convert sun time to watch time. The Arabic hour numerals are carved into the seats of the pinic stools. [contents from http://www.sundials-ireland.com]

In my next post, we go to Kilkenny Medeivel Mile. See you then.

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Sketching Ireland #5

Carlow – A Must Stop

Why? Well, Carlow is just off the M9 and is a fair size town to just pass by. According to Wikipedia, the settlement of Carlow is thousands of years old and pre-dates written Irish history. The town had played a major role in Irish history, serving as the capital of the country in the 14th century. Besides, read what Carlow Tourism wrote on their site and tell me that you would not drop by as well.

Immerse yourself in the story of Ireland’s Ancient East in County Carlow. Get off the beaten track to see, hear, touch and feel the imprints of the millennia of settlers in this county. Take your time to discover it all – Stone Age artifacts, monasteries, medieval castles and large country houses and estates.

google-maps-oakpark-w.jpgUnfortunately, I’m just making a quick exploration. But I did save some provided photos for later ‘Sketching from the Neck Up’ projects. Meanwhile, Carlow Tourism said that ‘Carlow is a treasure trove of wonderful gardens to visit. Some of the best in the country are here and the county also contains what is regarded as the best garden centre in the country – Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven, which has been continuously awarded a coveted 5 stars in the Bord Bia Garden Centre of the Year Awards.’ One particular park I found is just on the outskirts of the town.

Oak Park Forest Park

There are few locations which could rival the beauty and tranquillity of Oak Park Forest Park. Ideal for leisurely strolls and walks, a visit here is a relaxing and pleasurable experience and a must for any visitor to Co. Carlow. Colour coded circular walkways of varying lengths with excellent accessible surfaces and easy gradients make a visit here an enjoyable experience for young and old alike.

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The park is a mature, mixed species woodland of over 120 acres with a predominance of beech, oak, scots pine, silver fir, larch and sycamore. The proximity of the walkways to the extensive collection of ferns, mosses and woodland flora provides the visitor with an ideal opportunity to interact with nature. Boasting a rich diversity of wildlife, the lakes and their surrounds provide a habitat for swans and ducks, while the islands shelter many wild and game birds. The Woodland Looped walks extend over 4km.

The park also features a picnic area, informal leisure areas and seating at regular intervals. For us who are physically challenged, the Looped Board Walks have anti-slip surfacing and are wheelchair accessible. You can read more in this PDF brochure link -> Carlow-Garden-Trail

After a vicarious visit in the forest, I’m heading in for town. My first stop – the River Barrow and the rowing club.

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I love watching a rowing team pulling on their oars, slicing through the water.

Downtown Carlow

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So, from the river, using Street-View, I went exploring down narrow streets. Just a block from the river, I found the ruins of the Carlow Castle which is today facing a modern apartment complex called the Water Front. I decided not to sketch the castle and continue my touring. I decided to check out Carlow College.

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On the way there, as I was passing the court house, I had to stop and sketch an 18th century canon which sat on a strange carriage. I say strange because as a historical student of this period, if this canon was fired, well… I can just imagine it flipping back and crushing the gun crew. But I think this canon carriage, in-front of the court house is more for display.

The college campus reminded me of my own college days. Because I was a Theatre major, I always look for the campus theater; in this case, VISUAL Carlow.

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VISUAL is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary art spaces situated in the heart of Carlow Town, with four world class gallery spaces and a 320-seat performance space. It receives national, international and regional touring productions as well as presenting locally produced work. The theatre itself comprises of one performance space and associated workshop space. It is the home venue for a number of Carlow based amateur and professional groups who can use it for workshops, rehearsals and presentation of their work. [content by http://www.visualcarlow.ie]

For my sketch subject, I chose a beautiful, chrome shining, modern art piece which stood about 3-storeys high and fronting Visual. After the college, we go shopping.

Five blocks south is Carlow’s shopping district and if this was an actual physical vacation, my wife will really be enjoying it. Meanwhile, since I’m not really a shopping type, I have to hunt for something to sketch. And in a small circular park surrounded by boutiques, shops, restaurants and tourists is the Liberty Tree.

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At first sight, the Liberty Tree is a bronze sculpture with a tree shaped outline. It stands on a circular base at the centre of a large fountain. I almost ignored it, until I looked closely at the tree’s trunk and found several emaciated human images hanging from the trunk; like they were cruelly tortured to death.

This almost gruesome sculpture actually commemorates the 1798 Irish Rising that started here in Carlow.

After the shopping, it is time to look for somewhere to eat. There are many recognizable restaurants in Carlow’s commercial area. I found McDonald’s and even a Burger King (by the river). But I went looking for a hole-in-the-wall type restaurant that’ll surprise me. In a narrow street, right across from the Cathedral is a Spanish restaurant, Mimosa.

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If you looked at the outside, it didn’t seem special. Now, look at the framed door of my sketch and you’ll see a star and 4 discs. Mimosa may seem a hole-in-the-wall, but it is an award winning place. So, I hope for future travellers, please eat there and write to me about it.

For more about Carlow, GUIDE TO CARLOW & CARLOW’S ADVENTURE TRAILS.

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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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Sketching from the Neck Up #14

Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso

(Eremo di Santa Caterina del Sasso)

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According to Wikipedia the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is a Roman Catholic monastery located in the municipality of Leggiuno, in the Province of Varese and the region of Lombardy, Italy. It is perched on a rocky ridge on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore.

The monastery can be reached on foot by descending down a long winding stairway or by taking an elevator or by a number of ferry services or boats that dock at the pier.

The construction of the monastery dates from the 14th century, although the more recent frescos are from the 19th century. It consists of three buildings: the southern convent, the convent and the main church. In 1914 it was declared a national monument.

Check out the Google Earth or Google Map coordinates: 45.877411°N, 8.596887°E

http://www.santacaterinadelsasso.com

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