Monday, 7 September 2015

To Ireland's west coast

James Hobbs, Twelve Bens, Connemara, Ireland

We're back from a week in Ireland – last visited by us in the 1980s before the onset of daughters. We headed to the west coast, stayed a few days in Connemara and another few days on the Aran Islands. As part of my research into a new book (full details in time), I took a few bottles of ink (just black, blue and green) and a few brushes, but for all of Ireland's greenness, it was the greys that got me. And the skies, too: always heavy with clouds, always threatening, but rarely delivering.

James Hobbs, Gurteen Beach, County Galway

In Galway we met for tea with urban sketcher Róisín Curé, who lives down the coast and has a fantastic plot to cover. Galway is a livelier place than when we were last there – it is bidding to become European Capital of Culture in 2020. Perhaps that exposure would widen its appeal to UK visitors. If you heard a tourist's voice it would mostly likely have a French, Italian or American accent.

James Hobbs, Connemara coast

What remains entirely unchanged, though, is the friendliness of Ireland. There's a welcome everywhere you go. We won't wait 30 years before we go again.

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