In the shadow of a giant

Quite a few weeks ago I was up at some daft hour due to insomnia and decided to go off walking. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was beginning to rise and I drove to the Isle of Innisfree.

From there I walked from Innisfree to Slish Wood and back again. This is part of the Sligo Way Walk which runs from Lough Talt just outside Tubbercurry and finishes in Dromahair, Co. Leitrim.  The whole walk is 80km and I don’t think I’d ever consider attempting it but I like the fact that you can break it up into sections.

At Innisfree you follow the signs with the little yellow walking men/women. I had to cross a couple of styles and walk through some farm land at the start, I had a welcoming committee!

Just a short way into the walk there are the boardwalks and I always wondered why they were there and why people couldn’t just walk on the land. After stepping off the wood I quickly realised why they are there as my foot went sinking into the marsh! I lost my shoe for a while and ended up knee deep in mud! I did get my shoe back after some tugging!

The scenery up there is just stunning. The purple rhododendrons and the blue of Lough Gill with the Sleeping Giant providing a backdrop. It’s so easy to see why the poet WB Yeats was so inspired by this beautiful landscape. The photo above was featured by Discover Ireland on Twitter 🙂

The dew was sparkling in the morning sun and when the camera caught the light and the water droplets I was treated to a display of rainbows. It was just so peaceful and breathtaking.

On the way back to Innisfree I wandered through the forest and thought I’d be clever and take a short cut. Big mistake when I came up against a barbed wire fence but I was more or less back so I paddled through Lough Gill – it got rid of most of the mud anyway – although I was squelching when I reached dry land. I took a moment to look at the lake and dry off a bit and I saw what I thought was a lump of wood until I saw it jump into the water. It was an otter! The first one I’ve seen one in the wild, it moved too quickly for me to get a photo of it.

If you get a chance and are looking for a beautiful walk, I’d really recommend this one. Just stick to the path though.

 

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At The Model

I was thrilled to have one of my photos chosen to be in the Cairde Visual Exhibition at The Model Art Gallery, Sligo. The opening night was last night and I was in two minds all the way along as to if I should go or not.

A friend of mine said she would go with me which I was very grateful for because one of my biggest issues is walking into a crowded room on my own. I also got a call from another friend to say she was there too. This made such a difference to me and I was grand going in.

The exhibition is wonderful, so many different pieces to look at including dinosaurs! It was a really busy evening there so I’m going back when it’s quieter to have a proper look.

I’m glad I went to the opening because otherwise I’d have been at home wondering how it was going but I don’t think I’d go again. I can’t get over this ‘not worthy’ feeling. Like I shouldn’t be there with all those talented artists and I don’t know if there’s any way that I can change that. To me it’s ‘just a photo’ and then I see all these amazing pieces of art. Anyway that’s just me.

On a positive note I met a few lovely people and I went with my friends for dinner afterwards which was just lovely. We sat in the sunshine along by the river and I can’t remember the last time I’ve been out to dinner with friends, hopefully I’ll meet up with them again soon.

If you get a chance do call in to see the exhibition, it’s on until August 19th at The Model, Sligo.

 

A big week for exhibitions

My exhibition opened at St. John’s Community Hospital, Sligo yesterday. It’s a permanent photography exhibition and I was thrilled to be asked to be involved.

Some of my work involves documenting art workshops at day centres for older people. I’ve seen how positive these workshops are and what a difference they make to the people. It’s not just about art, it’s about starting conversations, reminiscing, friendship and there’s even the odd song.

I’ve seen people come to life when they discuss ideas with the artist and I’ve seen the joy in their faces when they see their work framed and displayed. These are just some of the reasons why the Bealtaine Festival is dear to my heart.

So for my Art Wall exhibition I re-explored County Sligo capturing images that would open up conversations and resonate with the residents and staff of St. John’s. The favourite photos have been printed, the exhibition was curated by Catherine Fanning  and they are now on display in the hospital. I found it so exciting to see which ones were chosen and listening to people discussing them.

So that was the first bit of excitement. The second bit was that some of my photos are hanging in The Hamilton Gallery, Sligo! I never thought I’d see the day! Once again this is thanks to Catherine. I documented the Pathway project that artists Catherine Fanning and Brigitta Viradi collaborated on with the residents of Nazareth House. Catherine has come up with a new body of work inspired by Pathway and this is currently in The Hamilton Gallery – along with some of my photos from Pathway. Catherine’s exhibition is on until the 2nd June so do call in and if you get a chance.

Art Wall – Exhibition Opening

I’m delighted to have been asked to be part of Bealtaine Festival Sligo this year. It’s a festival that is very dear to my heart and over the years I’ve loved listening to the stories of the people involved. I’d love to see some of you tomorrow at St. John’s Hospital 3.30pm.

The photographic ‘Art Wall’ exhibition is a collaboration between photographer Val Robus , Sligo Arts Service and St John’s Hospital. Over a number of months Val Robus has photographed an wide and varied range of views across Sligo’s towns and villages. These images have been catalogued for the residents of St John’s Hospital to view and select from. The photos that resonated most with the residents were printed and curated by artist Catherine Fanning for permanent exhibition in St John’s hospital.
The Exhibition opens May 2nd Wednesday 3.30 pm St John’s . All welcome

The early bird

I’m an awful eejit sometimes – today was one of those times. I turned up to an event a week early! Drove all the way to Carrick-on-Shannon walked into the venue and as soon as I did it dawned on me I was a week ahead of myself!

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