Ireland: Friday, July 26, 2013
Much has happened since my last post. Friday afternoon I took advantage of the fine weather to walk up to the Burren College of Art and its Newtown Castle. I left my Meadowfield office, taking a break from working on the book manuscript and stopped at the Spar to purchase a sandwich from their Deli for my lunch break. I walked through the village to the School Road onto the entrance to the Burren Way foot path. On my way I saw and chatted with my friend and Burren College of Art (BCA) Facilities Manager, Robert Wainwright. He was headed for the school football field to watch his son’s match. I met Robert during my first visit to BCA in May of 2000.
There were others walking the footpath and I found that I missed the usual peaceful solitude I have experienced when I have walked the path alone. Because it was later in the season the surroundings of the footpath had vegetation that I had not seen before. In the area of the footpath where there is limestone pavement someone was thoughtful enough to stack pieces of limestone up to create a low wall on either side of the path so walkers would not go astray. Also, there are now stepping stones added to the stiles in the stone walls that create “step-ups” and “step-downs”, which I found very helpful. There are two sections of hazel wood on this section of the footpath and they are my favorite areas to walk. In my mind these areas of hazel wood look much like little fairylands.
The end of the second hazel wood leads to a field where the owner had graciously opened up a narrow path between his electric fence and a stone wall for the walkers of the Burren Way. I walked the narrow path and climbed over the final stile onto a paved road, there I could see the top of Newtown Castle beyond the next field. I turned to face Cappanawalla Mountain and walked a little way until I the road met a road the skirts the bottom of Cappanawalla Mountain. Near there I found a spot to settle for my lunch break. The other path walkers had made a turn in the opposite direction after the last stile so the only sounds I heard were bird songs. I enjoyed sitting there on a limestone boulder at the side of this road.
After my lunch break I continued on this road toward Newtown Castle. The road is paved but narrow and there is much vegetation on both sides. Once in awhile there is a break in the vegetation and the walker can see a beautiful view of the Ballyvaughan valley and mountains of Moneen and Aillwee. I enjoyed the quiet walk and soon arrived at Newtown Castle and the Burren College of Art.
When I arrived I visited the office to say hello to Karen Culligan the Finance Officer & Programme Co-ordinator for the College. I asked her to give my best to Mary Hawkes-Greene the college’s president and then went to the college’s gallery to see the exhibition of Irish artist, Anne Madden.
The exhibition is entitled “Flux and Flow” and showcases 7 paintings that were created between the 1960’s and early 2000’s. The exhibit’s flyer includes this statement by Aidan Dunne:
“Anne Madden’s childhood and adolescent school holiday’s spent roaming on horseback in the Burren around Corofin, left an indelible impression on the young artist. Time, distance an absence have served only to strengthen these links with Clare and to amplify its recurring presence throughout her work”.