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Allison Doherty - Ireland 2015 Travel Journal and Photos
I flew to Dublin several days prior to a week-long Art Educator’s Residency at Cow House Studios, in southeastern Ireland. Taking a day trip to Glendalough as well as Powerscourt Estate and Gardens, the flowering trees and cheery spring flowers were the perfect antidote to the long dreary Northeast winter I had just left. Heading south to Enniscorthy, the temperatures climbed and warmed enough to shed to the raincoat I had brought (and never needed, save for one rainy day). I was picked up at my hotel by the owners of Cow House and drove on lovely rural roads which got narrower the further we got from Enniscorthy. By the time we approached Ballybaun and the studios, we were on one-car width lanes.
It’s easy to see why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle, as we were surrounded by lush fields in every shade of green imaginable, while moss and ferns were everywhere. Hedgerows of flowering gorse added touches of yellow to the landscape, as did the primulas pushing up along the lanes. Still functioning as a family farm, several former cow sheds at Cow House Studios have been turned into state of the art studios and residences for artists. Three other art teachers were to be in residence and after introductions were made, we were shown our rooms, as well as our studio spaces and left to settle in. My room overlooked the studios and the far hills to the south, and my studio space was spacious, light-filled, and faced a courtyard where we gathered on sunny mornings or afternoons for a break.
And from the moment I arrived, it was evident that the animals had the run of the place! A joyous welcoming committee of three chocolate labs, two small “yapper dogs,” a few barn cats, and a regal peacock greeted us. The sheer frenzied energy of the circling labs made it seem like there were far more than three of them, while the little dogs never stopped yapping. Cats cozied up to the dogs, who sometimes trod on them in their excitement. As I unpacked, I was startled to hear an unusual cackling which I later realized was the peacock, who liked to flap to the top of an adjacent stone wall, survey his “kingdom,” and call out to someone, anyone, to observe him. Several times during the week, “his majesty” unfurled his impressive, beautiful tail and strutted around the courtyard, showing off. The dogs seemed wholly unimpressed by this, while the cats ran for cover. Cows in the surrounding green fields mooed softly to their calves while nearby lambs cavorted, their wobbly heads and legs comical. In the studios we knew visitors had arrived by the mad cacophony of barking and cackling! At those moments it seemed like all the animals were speaking to one another in a shared secret language only they understood. Perhaps it was the magic of spring…
I took advantage of the mild, sunny weather to work outside as often as I could, moving my easel into various outdoor places to sketch a particular element or detail. The dogs always thought I was about to take a W-A-L-K and sprang into anticipatory, joyous action, only to be disappointed by my standing in one spot for hours. The quizzical look on their faces always made me laugh. But what bliss to be able to work alfresco! We made numerous pots of coffee every morning in the shared kitchen before heading out to our studios, and went for long walks on warm afternoons, not only in the farm lanes but also in the Blackstairs Mountains (hills, really) where the landscape abruptly shifted from green pastures to brown brackens and heathers. We pooled our resources each night for dinner, enjoyed trout fished from the farm’s stocked pond, and one night went to the local pub for an obligatory pint or two of Guinness. All too soon, our time at Cow House was over and, one by one, we left for Dublin Airport with artwork carefully packed for our return flights, memories of Ireland, and the animals, on our minds.
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Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
 
Allison Doherty Travel Photos - Ireland, 2015
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