Tuesday, 5 March 2013


...........even though we are far away from it now, the silvery silken  waters of Galway Bay will be breaking on the shore at Ballyvaughan.

We have had a lovely 9 days there again, meeting old friends from previous years and catching up.
re-acquainting ourselves with the Burren and its surroundings, and the lovely quiet village.
Every year we have new and different experiences and this year was no exception.

I went to Mass on Sunday morning in the village church. 
Its the first time I have ever been asked to pray for a successful hunt. Lets draw a veil over what that may mean and hope it referred to the safe return of all the riders and no kill.

We thought we'd go to watch. They assembled here...

 It wasn't like the few hunts I've seen in this country, far more 'ordinary' although some were definitely monied and turned up with wonderful horse boxes with push button ramps, and polished leather boots.

 While others were a bit more like garden sheds on wheels.

 I asked a friendly man in a mud spattered riding coat if they caught many foxes...he said they hadn't caught one in twenty years and if they did find one they'd probably 'sit down for a drink with him and tell him what a fine fellow he is.'
They took off suddenly.

 We got the car out and followed them down the road just to see the fast galloping and the hounds but it was a very slow process.They were stuck in a field for ages because the hounds had run off over the mountain where the horses couldn't follow.We were told the best place to see them was on the beach.

 We waited.
Eventually they came across the sand but not in a galloping frenzy but sporadically, in dribs and drabs, all having to be very careful whilst leaving the car park as there was a low overhead height restriction barrier!

A very sedate affair but whatever you might think of hunting it was an interesting thing to see.

On Monday my friend (who comes to keep me company)and I took a trip to Inis Mor one of the Aran Islands. 
Once the awful stressful feat of finding first the car park then the bus in Galway, (being guided by a woman from the ferry company on the phone and running with unlaced walking boots rather like Anneka Rice did in 'Treasure Hunt' all those years ago) was over, we relaxed on the ferry 

 sailing past the shores of Connemara..what a place for a graveyard.

 On arrival we were greeted by the offer of a pony and trap ride all over the island. We accepted..and after a difficult ascent into the trap, we snuggled under the rugs and enjoyed the gorgeous weather and scenery. The driver was wearing jeans, a short jacket and no gloves..it was freezing but he wasn't.
The stoic little horse who pulled us was called Johnny Cash. Johnny was due for new shoes the next day. I asked what he would do about the trap and he said he'd have to get his other horse..'W' ..short for WB Yeats. What a man.
Every now and then he got out and took a picture for us!

 We trotted up to Dun Aengus a fort on the clifftop, 2500 years old.

There's a sheer drop on the other side.

 After lunch a bit of shopping (Lovely cafe playing Leonard Cohen songs!) we continued along the coast road. I saw seals here in this bay but my camera didn't. They were playing in the blue water enjoying the sunshine .

 On to an old church (all seemed to be '7th century') and another photo opportunity!

The sun shone all day but my goodness it was cold. 
 We could have picked up one of these and hired a bike but I am so glad we chose the pony and trap.
 A little detail near the harbour.
 There was even a seal in the harbour on the mainland when we arrived back in Connemara and the moon rose pink and incredibly huge as we drove back to Galway.

On Saturday we made our usual trip to the Dolmen.

 Here I am looking as round as the aforementioned moon and much pinker.

 A little shop browsing in Ennis in the afternoon....wonderful clothes in some of the shops, but so expensive

 and on Sunday a walk on the beach at Fanore

 watching this young jockey to-ing and fro-ing and eventually trotting up the road home.

 We could hear the hooves on the sand and then on the road as he clopped off home.

Now for the inspiration!!!
I am inspired by all I saw underfoot.
Allow me to share my pictures with you.
I spent a lot of time looking down between the stones and the ridges.

 look more closely...

A puzzling sight
 even with the boat!
 Besides all the sights there were sounds, great friends, great craic, and above all , my husband thoroughly enjoyed his classes with the great Noel Hill, and had plenty of space and time to practise.

I give you....a happy husband.

So I hope you've enjoyed this fourth year of Ballyvaughan.
If you should want to read my previous posts about our visits there please click HERE


Daisie said...

What a beautiful beach!
Sadly even the thought of being in a Leonard Cohan playing cafe with cake cannot rid my mind of the image of you in blue lycra running away from the camera Anneka Rice style, hehe, made me smile :)

Julie said...

Heaven! What a wonderful post and what a wonderful experience for you all too. I love the hunting tale and hope they don't catch any foxes for another 20 years. I have a smile on my face just reading so you must be so enriched by your stay. You were so lucky with your day on Inish Mor despite the cold. There is a magic about Ireland and I'm glad it's still there despite all the modern changes.

Jennie Atkinson said...

Fantastic photos Jackie - I'll come walking with you next year!!

jinxxxygirl said...

So glad you had a nice time. Aahh to visit Ireland...its on my Bucket List if i ever come into alot of money..For now i'll have to be happy with a trip to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco this weekend...:) Thanks so much for sharing! Hugs! deb

Miriam Weaver said...

Another lovely post Jackie, I can't wait to see what wonders you produce from this visit to such a beautiful place. I bet Hetty hasn't left your side since your return.

arlee said...

OOO lovely lichens and kelps!

Amanda said...

How lovely! And the inspirations photos were wonderful, I look forward to seeing them in your work any time soon!

Last year was the first we hadn't been over to Ireland in forever. It's funny how many people laugh at the Irish but I alway have the impression they are laughing at the rest of us. They have such a literal sense of the world, it's fabulous and refreshing.

Rachel said...

It sounds like a great few days, and those close-ups will give you no end of inspiration.

Heather said...

A wonderful post Jackie - I can see why you love that area with it's lovely stone ruins and fantastic beaches. It is so beautiful, unspoilt and full of amazing textures and colours. Lots of new work from you? I shall look forward to gorgeous zingy citrus yellows against soft moody greys. Thankyou so much for sharing your beautiful photos - I almost feel as if I have been on holiday myself.

caprejan said...

What a lovely post, the photographs are brilliant, I used to just follow the hunt, not that I totally agree with it, but I always felt very English. Your island looked like the religious TV series The Island, was it one of those? It looked wonderful. I'm also very sure you didnt need any inpirational ideas, but what a good excuse for a fantastic holiday.

Anna said...

What an interesting post, I can feel the flavour of the area. Lots of inspiration !

Anonymous said...

Beautiful scenery - made magic with sun even if it was a bit chilly. A fabulous post, thank you, I enjoyed all the photos.

Living to work - working to live said...

First of all I can hardly believe the wonderful weather you had.

And your photos are fantastic. The Irish Tourist Board should recruit you.

I love your study photos as well - that's the great thing about us textile artists - we really see our surroundings and find beauty and inspiration everywhere - even on a rock. I think we are very lucky.

Victoria said...

Gorgeous. What a soul renewing place. Love the photos of the rocks and lichen.

Robin Mac said...

Oh what a wonderful place that must be, thank you so much for sharing it with us through all your gorgeous photos. I shall look forward to seeing beautiful new felt pieces in all those inspiring colours of the lichens and kelp. I'm glad you had such a fantastic holiday. Cheers

MargaretR said...

What a lovely trip you had!

Vicki said...

Hello Jackie,
I've just discovered your blog by accident - so glad I did. It's fabulous!
And I love your artwork - so intricate. So beautiful. Temptingly tactile rich textures.

Now I will go back and read more posts in your archives.

Looking forward to being a regular reader.
Vicki :)

Magpie's Mumblings said...

You obviously had a delightful trip. I enjoyed the description of the hunt, but must admit I hope they didn't meet up with any foxes. Love the lichen photos - lots of inspiration there!!

Linda said...

What a wonderful trip you had ....those blue skies!!!! And its not every day you find a cafe playing Leonard Cohen songs..... ;-)
Can we have a group trip next year please? We'll let you choose the date; you obviously have a knack.xx

Barbara said...

Stumbled on your blog after seeing the article about watercolour felt in Workshop on the Web....my piece now drying ready for more creativity...thanks so much for the article...and I love the Schnauzer..:)

Barbara said...

Stumbled on your blog after seeing the article about watercolour felt in Workshop on the Web....my piece now drying ready for more creativity...thanks so much for the article...and I love the Schnauzer..:)

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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