Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sketchbook Journeys - Ireland: Days 10-11

I hope you're enjoying this sketchbook journey through Ireland. We're past the midpoint of our trip, but there are still lots of sketches I'd like to show you...

This next page was a bit of a catch-all, where I wrote down an assortment of interesting observations and facts that didn't really fit in anywhere else. I just added to it day by day when there was something I wanted to remember.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"
(Click on any of the pictures to see a larger view.)

Since I was working on both sides of the paper in my sketchbook, I tried to coordinate the colors of pages that were facing each other, like the ones shown above and below.

Collage, watercolor, 7" x 10"

After looking at thousands of sheep over the course of our two weeks in Ireland, I had to include this quote in my journal ...

Collage, marker, watercolor, 7" x 10"

We visited many of the famous sites in Ireland, the ones that top every tourist's list of must-see places, and I wouldn't have wanted to miss any of them, but the place I loved the most was Fanore Beach in County Clare. It was just by chance that we pulled in there for a rest stop at the public facilities (which were few and far between!) I couldn't resist checking out the beach, just over the hill.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

Wow! It was a beautiful, wide expanse of sandy beach edged with limestone outcroppings leading up to high sand dunes. The sun sparkled on the water and a brisk wind was blowing in off the sea. Waves were crashing on the shore and up against the cliffs in the distance.

Detail of Fanore Beach

There was just something about Fanore Beach that spoke to me - the wild beauty of it all. I felt a connection to that place, and it was so hard to tear myself away and head to the next stop on our trip. I vow to go back someday and stay in a little cottage just over the hill. Then I can walk those shores to my heart's content.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

The page above commemorates a funny moment during our trip. One of our traveling companions, Mary, saw a sign along the road that said "Bouncing Castles for Hire," referring to the inflatable jumping rooms that you can rent for children's parties. Since we had visited real castles several times that week, she, of course, had them on her mind. When she innocently asked our driver "What's a bouncing castle?", I piped up and explained to her what the sign referred to. There was a slight pause, then her daughter said, "Mom ...what did you think it was?!"  We all started giggling, while poor Mary stammered and turned red in the face. The more we thought about it, the funnier it seemed to us. Maybe we were all giddy from too many hours in car, but we laughed so much we nearly cried at the silliness of it all. Maybe you just had to be there, but it was funny! The rest of the evening, as I was drawing this sketch, I still got the giggles whenever I thought of Mary's innocent question and the hilarity that had ensued.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

On our last day together as a group, we visited Kylemore Abbey in Connemara. It was a cold, rainy day, but we decided to visit the famous walled garden after touring the abbey. Walking around in the rain had us chilled to the bone, so we stopped at the tea room to warm up. Just looking at this sketch of the table scene from that day makes me feel warm and cozy all over again.

Detail of tea at Kylemore

It was a bittersweet moment for the four of us, because we were about to go our separate ways. Our friends would be heading back to Dublin to fly home, while my mom and I were remaining on the west coast for a few more days. We sat there together, enjoying delicious homemade pastries (even gluten free almond cake!) while sipping fragrant herbal teas and cappuccino, making plans to meet again someday.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 7" x 10"

This sketch of Kylemore was, by necessity, done after I returned home. There was just too much wind and rain the day we were there for me to pull out my sketchbook. Working on it weeks after our visit gave me a chance to enjoy it all over again.

Only two more days of sketchbook posts to come - don't miss them!


  1. I am interested in Kylemore Abbey. My husband's mother's maiden name is Kyle. I know they have roots over there somewhere. Thanks for sharing. As always, you sketches are wonderful.

  2. I'm truly amazed at all that you have captured of your travels. Your pages are beautiful. I can certainly see why you were taken with the special little beach - from the looks of it I would enjoy spending time there as well. I'm glad you posted the page with the many miscellaneous notes - it is nice to see how you handled this to give me ideas for my own journal. And thanks for sharing the quote about the sheep - I too have a love of sheep.


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