Ik ben deel van een groep vrienden die zichzelf de Polranny Pirates noemen. De plek bestaande uit een huis en een Folly omgeven door een hectare tuin is vanaf 2008 ondergebracht in Stichting Polranny Pirates.
There I’m part of the Polranny Pirates a loose group of creative friends who have made the house, Folly and surrounding garden in Polranny their hideaway. In 2008 The informal situation was formalized into a foundation: Stichting Polranny Pirates
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My life in Ireland
On the last day of my stay in The Burren I took from Kilmoon the road north to Fanore. It was a lovely day. The sun was out and the sky was clear. As the sun came over Slieve Elva the details in the landscape were set of by dark shadows. I stopped at the T crossing above Fanore before the road went zig zagging down to the coast. Fanore beach was below me and Connemara across from Galway Bay was at eye level. What a great way to say goodbye.
From Skaghard we did not drive on towards Boston, but turned back to take the narrow lane back to the turnoff and the hippie settlements. On the stretch with the 'pavement' and the 'boulders' Ank was so kind to stop the van and while I was drawing she buried herself in a book. It was a striking spot with bare trees marking the horizon and the end of the 'pavement'. To the left the impressive Mullagh More mountain rose up, but it was not visible on my canvas. So I moved the mountain a bit till it fitted into my sketch. No harm done as the Irish would say. When I had completed my sketch we continued, but instead of going left on the turnoff we went right in the direction of Carran. But before we got there we drove past the remains of a saint's church, the ruins of the mansions of local landlords and last but not least over a pass with the remnants of a penitential station. From Carran we took local lanes that in summer had misguided me till I was at cross roads where I sketched the two churches. Ank who knew the road as well as her back pocket did not make the same mistake and drove straight on to Kilmoon. Slowly but surely my task of bringing The Burren to life in my sketches was drawing to a close. There will always be landmarks and views I 'had not done' for one reason or the other, but I was getting the feeling that an overall sense of the place was established. Still one day to go.
After I drew Sean in his cottage we went outside. The weather wasn't great for sketching outside, but I hoped against hope that I could draw a farmyard scene preferably with Sean, a cow and a tractor. But the cows were away in the fields and the yard was very industrial surrounded by several buildings of different eras. There was the old homestead turned into a workshop. Across from it stood a shed from a later date and at the head of the yard was a big new hangar style farm building. In side the building was the farming equipment housed with in front a traditional Massey Ferguson tractor with a 95 Galway numberplate. It looked as if had just come from the assembly line. That was my chance. I asked Sean if he would drive out the tractor so I could draw him driving it while I could sit in my folding chair inside the hangar and keep dry. I took on Sean's profile first and let him then return inside his warm cottage while I finished the drawing. Sean had told Ank and me about his farm yard cat having had kittens and his task now to catch them all and bring them to the vet to get neutered. Soon one of the bunch who was already quite grown up appeared and sat down under the tractor next to one of the front tires fixating me. I could not resist the temptation of working him into the sketch. Of course the cat would never have sat there if Sean had been really driving the tractor. But I was more than happy to let the cat expose the fake working scene.
On the Wednesday Ank took me in their van to the east of The Burren an area still unfamiliar to me. We drove first via Kilfenora to Corofin on the most south eastern corner of The Burren. There she filled the van with diesel. There aren't that many petrol stations around and one has to choose prudently. From Corofin we went north. That route I had partly taken in August, but now we kept pushing north east instead of due north. We left the main road that would take us to Boston and took a lane through a wooded area. When Ank took another turn I had lost all sense of direction. At the start of the new turnoff there were several hippie settlement in the bushes. Next we were in a bare 'pavement' area with the remarkable rounded 'boulders' sticking out of the ground. The lane got narrower and less travelled. And then we were in green, grassy Skaghard in the townland of Boston. It was there that Sean kept a cattle farm that had been in his family since before Cromwell's invasion. The parents of Sean had let Ank&Els camp in one of their fields when they first travelled together to Ireland. How they had ended up in Skaghard the story didn't tell, but ever since they have been great friends with their hosts and later with their son Sean. Sean is a traditional Irish bachelor, keeping a very healthy, modern and neat farm while living in his parents cottage without having ever changed the nineteenth sixties interior. The Aga had pride of place. On both sides stood an arm chair one for Dad and one for Mom. There were three chairs at the dining table and Sean sat on the one across the wall where a spanking new TV was mounted. Ank told me that Mom and Dad had married late and Sean had been an unhoped for and welcome addition. Sean is a very neat and kind and caring man who clearly cared a lot for his old friends Ank&Els.
In the evening A&E took me to visit their friends writer Frank Golden and his partner social worker Berry Guthrie in the Valley of Ought Mama. Ought Mama is the ancient name for a location at the back of Bellharbour encompassing a mountain, a valley and a glen. It means 'at the bosom'. I had visited Frank and Berry with A&E years before and was excited to see them again. Word had come to me, that now they were both working from home. I wanted to see how that was done and draw them at it. They live in a specious self-designed house set well back from the road behind a working cattle farm. It has floor to ceiling windows that provide great views of the garden and the surrounds all the way to Cocomroe Abbey. A&E were going to do some electrical work before dinner and during that time I could do my drawings. But I was too excited to sit down and do drawings of people faking for me to be working from home. Instead I did this sketch of the chaotic verticals of nature and the regimented verticals of human endeavor interspersed by the horizontals of homely and personal fabrics. It had all the elements I love in one vista. What more does one want? By the time A&E had finished with the electrics and Berry and Frank had cooked a delicious dinner I was also ready and had chilled sufficiently to socialize. Socializing can be a chore for me but sketching does chill me out. I organized with the hosts that I would come back two days later for some serious work. Darkness had descended as we drove back. Ank drove their large van with Dutch steering. Because this was their habitat I wanted to see how Ank tackled the many sharp bends at the Cork Screw Pass. Every time I misjudge the same bent. Ank very slowly approached that particular bent and so did I the next time and it worked!
The rain was coming down in buckets when I set out to see if I could do something with the old cathedral of St Fachtna in Kilfenora. A&E had told me that the active Church of Ireland part of the building might be closed but that the preserved part under a glass roof that housed two crosses would be open. If so that meant I was protected from rain even if I could not draw the church from the car. They also told me that there was a road leading right up to the church something I had not discovered when I had been there in August. The rain came down so heavily that even with the windshield wipers going at full speed I hardly could see where I was going. I parked the car in the market square and went on reconnoiter. Everything but the graveyard was closed, but I discovered the lane that lead right up to the original front gate. It is now a back street to a builders yard. It had enough room to park with a view. Even during that short walk I got soaked and freezing. The water had even dripped inside the coat at the neck and soaked the sweater. But I managed to keep the sketching paper dry. When I came back to Kilmoon all I wanted was to get dry and warm. Two years before A&E had told me that there was something wrong with the chimney of the Box. Now I went to question it. Let's try it out they suggested. Of course it worked and worked well. Problem solved. I went to the shop in Lisdoonvarna and bought a bale of briquets and kindling. With the turf and wood A&E provided it was enough to keep me warm and comfortable for the rest of my stay. Might as well. One doesn't want to catch a cold in times of Covid.