In May of 2018 I had the opportunity of accepting an art residency at Cill Rialaig in Ballinskelligs, Ireland which I quickly realized was one of the most remote parts of the world I had the pleasure of exploring and creating in.
Ballinskelligs is a typical rural Irish village. There’s two pubs, one cafe, one market and one post office. Most people who live there go into Cahersiveen (a 20 minute drive) if they need to shop. I rented a car from Dubln and made my way across to Galway, camped on the beach and the next day drove down along the Wild Atlantic Way, camped in the forest and continued into County Kerry where Ballinskelligs lies. I don’t think I ever saw so many sheep in my entire life. Also, Irish roads are tiny! And this was the first time I drove on the other side of the road so it was a bit crazy! Totally worth it though.
I only had the car for a few days. I figured I’d get there and stock up on food/supplies and then walk when needed (since the residency is so remote and the buses are sparse, they recommend people drive). The first few days I settled in and bought lots of food, drove to Cahersiveen and explored the colorful old misty town, found a “folk night” bar which consisted of a hand full of old men sitting around a table, drinking heavily and playing irish folk tunes. One day I explored Waterville (the next closest village) where I ate potato and leek soup at Peter’s Place Cafe where the owner Peter talked to me about the historical connections of last names for a long time. I didn’t even say much. Just sat and enjoyed my soup on a cold rainy day.. and he was going on and on about last names. I remember his son was working there. I at least think it was his son. He was probably 12.
Anyways, the residency was fantastic. I was given my own cottage and had the privacy and quiet to read, write and work on my art. Cill Rialaig is made up of 8 cottages, 6 for the artists, one laundry house and one communal space with a library.
I actually did much more writing than I had expected but I think it was the energy of that space. For the past 25 years or so, hundreds of writers (and many creatives, but lots of writers) have worked in that space. There was even a super old stone desk overlooking the water. Here, look at it on a sunny day vs. cloudy. Crazy huh?
There I was working on my book: Searching: pt. I which involves work from my series Ephemera (In-Between), travel moments and poetry. The book currently only exists in .pdf since sadly, Blurb did a horrible job printing and I am on the hunt for a new place to print and publish the book! Some other life things have gotten in the way, it hasn’t been my biggest priority, but alas, the book is DONE! It’s just not out into the world just yet. I will keep everyone posted when it is!!
Anyways, here’s a few nice moments on film.
A few of the artists from Cill Rialaig on a walk about .5km away from the cottages. We went to find the mysterious standing stones and I had a lovely encounter with some sheep :)
My friend Jolene on the top of the Cahergall Stone Fort. Many stone forts are found in the West of Ireland and they are notoriously hard to date. I remember on the information sign, this one said “It is likely that somebody of importance lived here 1,000 years ago.”… It’s likely but they aren’t really sure! Ha.
Here are some mobile moments of my cottage and the nearby area of Ballinskelligs and the surrounding villages, Cahersirveen and Valencia Island.