Ireland Visit 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
I awakened to another cloudy, misty and rainy day. After making my coffee I started working on my landscape . . .
Now that I had already darkened the foreground there was nothing I could do but make do and carry on. I did think of of trashing this one and starting something new – but I realized I didn’t come here to create a set number of paintings, I came here to work and learn. I told myself that there was probably something that I could learn by finishing this composition.
I took a break to walk into the village to buy a few groceries. First I walked to the what was the manor house of James and Mary Ellis, James and Mary Ellis were British Quakers who in 1849 leased 915 acres around Letterfrack to aid the starving people. They provided much needed employment setting up a shop, school, dispensary and a hotel. They were kind and benevolent people. They stayed in Letterfrack until James health failed and returned to England.
In 1882 the Catholic Archbishop of Tuam bought the estate. I was saddened to learn that the ‘Christian Brothers’ established St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Boys which was housed in the old Ellis manor house. I was saddened because this school and other’s like it are known for the excessive use of force as in physical beatings and sexual abuse. While some of the boys were able to finally leave the school and return to their families others were not as fortunate. There is a path in the woods near the Industrial School with a sign at its entrance “Letterfrack Industrial School Graveyard”. Here is where the less fortunate boys are buried. I didn’t go in but did some research about it. Here is a link to a video that gives a synopsis:
Near this graveyard just beyond the entrance to the Connemara National Park is the James and Mary Ellis Nature Trail. I entered and started to follow the trail but my heart just was not in it. I left the trail, passed the entrance to the school graveyard and walked back into the village. I visited an art gallery then stopped at Verdon’s Pub for an early dinner. I ordered the cod and a glass of Guinness. I received more that I bargained for.
After I ate what I could I stopped by the grocery store for some bread, butter and a bottle of wine. Then walked the short distance back to Fushia where I continued working on my watercolor.