Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Erin Isle - James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Stoneage burial mounds, and Guiness

Nothing like a little vacation. The Ragazzo and I spent the last 10 days in Ireland. Neither of us had ever been there before. We spent a few days in Dublin and the rest in the countryside and smaller towns (Kilkenny, Athlone, Sligo and The Burren). Despite incessant rain, we hiked, visited ruins and burial sites like Carrowkeel (above) 6,700 years old - can you imagine - something built by people that long ago. We even stayed on an 18th century estate with 1,600 sheep, housed in a palatial country mansion that has been in the Percival family for 100s of years. That's Percival as in the fellow who sat at the Round Table!

Oh! And, of course, The Writer's Museum in Dublin. Which has lovely little cases full of notebooks, letters and typewriters and provides a primer and all writers Irish.

Also looked at the work of some contemporary visual artists like Sean McSweeny who had a show at the Niland Gallery in Sligo. His works are abstracted landscapes, mostly smaller in scale; they capture the darkness and wildness of the shorelines, pools, bogs and pastures of Ireland (particularly the western coast) with bold, thick applications of paint, the colors roughly mixed, the brush marks evoking the roughness of the landscape. Pale blue paint presents the light as it glints against dark grey-green waters. Swathes of spring green and splashes of bright yellow play against deep browny-greys capturing the contrasts of flowers and meadows to the bogs.

Unfortunately I got a sinus infection on the trip and spent a couple of miserable days shivering and hacking. The bright side of that was that we both got a little more reading done than we might have. Me on the summer reading list and The Ragazzo on Iris Murdoch.

I somehow restrained myself from returning with more than 1 new book. But this one looked so cool I just couldn't resist. Reading it will have to wait at least until August when I'm done w/the SRC, but Sam over at Book Chase wrote an interesting post on it just a few days ago.

Perhaps more details or even a couple of more pictures on the trip will follow. But for now, on to the books I've finished for the Summer Reading Challenge


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful vacation, sinus infection aside! I would love to go to Ireland and The Writer's Museum sounds like my kinda place to visit :)

Imani said...

So pleased you had a wonderful time in Ireland. That's a country I've always wanted to visit -- and it sounds like you saw a lot too, despite the sinus troubles. Welcome back!

Ted said...

Iliana - yes, the museum was a reader's haven.
Imani - it is a beautiful place, full of history and a love of good literature (and ale). Thanks for the welcome.Sounds like you've been reading up a storm on the Milton.