I had a great time at Sioban & John's in Greystones over Christmas week.
We had a very nice Christmas dinner-John made ham and roast duck, parsnips and roasted potatoes. Sioban made a valiant effort at trying an orange sauce for the duck using her dad's recipe (Eoghan is a fantastic cook and usually does the difficult sauce for her before he leaves town) but just couldn't make it turn out right. But Sioban made some really tasty mince pies that we all enjoyed for dessert!
After dinner we had our cheese and biscuits then went and opened presents. Sioban and John do huge stockings for each other every year and they even had a stocking for me. So after popping our crackers and putting on our foil crowns we got down to business. I got a tape set of a really well done art documentary series that's been showing over here, a nice little laughing buddha statue, a really interesting book that Sioban's company published about the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, a tiny bottle of Mead, and various examples of cider to try among other things.
I gave my hosts a framed monoprint I did a few years ago with an image based on a venus fertility carving.
The next day (Boxing Day if you're in England---St. Stephen's Day if in Ireland) we went into Dublin and met Sioban's friends Marsha and Barry for lunch and a few pints. They are a very interesting couple. Marsha is American but moved to Ireland for school and just forgot to go back. Barry is Irish. Soon after they got married they moved to Paris where they live now. Marsha is a writer who recently published her first book- Dirty Sky. Barry is a singer/songwriter who just released his second cd-Last Night, as I was Wandering. Both of which can be ordered at http://www.hagsheadpress.com/index.html
I had a great cider fueled talk, about art and the creative process and relocating overseas, with them both.
I also was able to meet Sioban's cousin Sheila. She's an artist and writer and the sister of Richard Gorman. She did a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and told me lots about it and some of the artists she met there. The majority of her visual work consists of drawings based on military uniforms. Sioban and John have a small, delicate example of her work at their house. Sheila invited me over for dinner when Robin gets here and said I could go through her Gorman catalogs and have any she has two of!
The next day Sioban and John and I went on a scenic (if lung collapsing) walk in the Wicklow Mountains. The view was worth it when we got to our look out point but half way up I had to tell them if "... I don't make it back, to tell Robin I loved her!"
The Saturday after Christmas, Jim and Nina (our friends from FL) flew into Dublin. I met them for dinner, a walk around Grafton street, and a visit to the Stag's Head.
On Sunday after a last hot shower (did I mention that the hot water isn't working at the house in Dun Laoghaire?) I went back to 6 Laurel Hill. Jim and Nina drove down from Dublin and we walked down the big hill to George's St. to see if anything was open for dinner. We finally found a very good Italian restaurant. Nina was fading so we didn't hit a bar but walked back to the house. Nina and Jim drove back to their hotel and I brought in the New Year with a pint of Bulmer's and Jools Holland's Hootenanny on the telly! and later watched Clint Eastwood in Play Misty for Me. A low key but enjoyable start to the new year.
Today, after a week away, and inspired by Dwayne's new work , I'm ready to get back to my drawing.