Lately I’ve been lucky enough to spend time walking through the stunning landscapes of Mayo, Donegal and Wicklow, namely climbing Croagh Patrick, Errigal Mountain and walking through Glenmalure. They have all been inspiration for my latest painting (which will possibly be called Eriú – goddess of the Land). The book “Elen of the Ways” by Elen Sentier along with a visit to Uisneach (the sacred centre of Ireland) have also fed my imagination to create this painting. It’s still a work in progress but hopefully it won’t take too much longer….
Working on this piece at the moment (17.5 x 7 cm). I’m in the middle of waiting for the layers of a larger painting to dry so I thought I’d start on this little piece. I drew it in St anne’s park about 2 years ago during the Summer…..not sure what kind of story will go with it!
I visited Slieve Gullion around the time of the Winter Solstice just recently. It was a really beautiful clear day and the views were incredible. Three years ago I also came here for the Winter Solstice and it was a completely different experience – the whole area was surrounded by mist the entire time. There are so many places associated with the Solstice around Ireland and I do my best to find new and interesting places to visit every year…..
The piece below was on an information board just before the steep climb up to the cairn and tells a little about the folklore of this place.
“Slieve Gullion (Sliabh gCuillin, “The mountain of the steep slope”) stands at a height of 573m in the centre of the Ring of Gullion and is the highest mountain in County Armagh. On the southern summit, a large Neolithic burial chamber known locally as “Cailliagh Berra’s House” is the highest surviving passage tomb in Ireland. It is aligned with the setting sun of the Winter Solstice. Local folklore tells how the famous Irish Giant, Finn McCool was bewitched by the wicked Calliagh Berra. Touched by her sadness, Finn was tricked into the bottomless lake to retrieve her lost ring. The mighty Finn surfaced some time later with the ring but he had fallen under her spell and emerged an old man with hair as white as snow. Eventually, Calliagh Berra was forced to undo her evil spell and Finn regained his former physique, with the exception of his beautiful blonde hair. The story still goes that if anyone swims in that treacherous lake, their hair will turn white!”
On the way up Slieve Gullion and The Cailliagh Berra’s House
Inside the cairn and the lake on the summit.
A 360 degree view from the summit (Solstice 2015)
View on the way back (Solstice 2015)
It’s definitely worth visiting any time of year. The walk on the way up is pretty easy, but it gets a lot steeper when you go off the main tarmac way and start heading up to the cairn. Once you’re at the top it’s really windy and wild but the views are worth it!
This was my stand in the Industries Hall at the RDS national craft fair this year. It took so much preparation in the weeks beforehand to get all the prints ready as well as the frames. I was lucky to have plenty of help on set-up day. We were there from ten am until six in the evening getting everything ready. It was an enjoyable, exhausting and rewarding 5 days – great to meet so many new and returning customers all of whom were supportive with their comments, inquiries and purchases 🙂 All of the feedback I get from customers is really appreciated and it reminds me to keep doing the work that I do, that I’m on the right track….no matter how difficult it can get sometimes, so a big thank you to everyone involved, family, friends and customers.
This is how the stand looked just after we had hung the boards…I couldn’t have managed this without the help of my dad and my sister ruth pictured below
(tranferred from original blog written on 26th july 2015)
An inspiring visit to Sceilig Mhicil: I was lucky to get out to Sceilig Mhicil 2 weeks ago – it is an ancient monastic site off the coast of Kerry that was settled by monks in 600AD untill 1100AD. It’s incredible to know that these monks lived here – out in the middle of the Atlantic ocean on a sea crag- no fresh water -. (they built their own system to collect rainwater). The beehive huts they built are still standing as well as the ancient steps. These steps take you all the way to the monastery at the top. I can only imagine what peace and quiet they must have experienced here (it’s difficult to sense it at the monastery as it can get a bit crowded at times). George Bernard Shaw, following a visit in 1910, described this ‘incredible, impossible, mad place’ as ‘part of our dream world’.
Boats take you out to the sceilig from Portmagee and it takes about 45 minutes each way – you get to spend 2 hours there. On the way out you pass by little sceilig which is the breeding ground for gannets – an incredible site to see! Sceilig mhicil itself is a important breeding ground for puffins, kittiwakes and other sea- birds – you see the kittiwakes balancing right on the edge of the cliffs with their chick and the puffins are everywhere as you walk up to the top of sceilig…..anyway, definitely inspiring and worthwhile and im so glad i finally got to go. Its a good idea to book well in advance as the boats book up pretty fast – and that doesnt always guarantee that you will get to go out on the day – it’s all weather dependant – we went out with a guy called jo danagher- there are lots of different boats to go out if you google it.
(All photos copyright Nicky Hoefsloot)
“Follow Your Heart” Original (SOLD) pen and ink 7″ x 5″ /18 x 13 cm
When we allow ourselves to listen to the wisdom of our hearts
we begin to follow our own inner nature.
Sometimes this wisdom doesn’t make much sense
and may appear irrational and illogical.
But if we are brave and courageous enough
and begin to trust these decisions made from the heart
we will soon see that we are never led astray.
(transferred from original website blog 4th may 2015)
I visited Elfia for a second time in April. This time it was held in the beautiful grounds of Castle “de Haar”. It was inspiring, magical and otherworldly. You can see for yourself from the video below! The majority of people attending the festival make their own costumes and it was just wonderful to be surrounded by so much creativity. I had some of my work available at the Golden Age of Fairy Art Stall, hopefully I will get to exhibit with this group of fairy artists again in the future 🙂