• Galway

    Cúirt Labs – the shout-out

    The Cúirt International Festival of Literature is in full swing in Galway at the moment, and the city is abuzz with theatre, poetry, art exhibitions, literary discussions, workshops, and readings. The Cúirt Labs are the part of the programme directly targeted at a younger audience, which will take place in the Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominick Street where three floors of gallery space will become custom-made spaces for inventiveness and imagination. I’m going to be partisan and draw particular attention to some friends who are taking part: Maeve Clancy: one of the best comic book artists in the country who also creates cut-out paper installations and has a background in…

  • Galway,  nature

    Coole under water

    I’ve made mention a few times of the flooding in the West of Ireland this winter, but it’s pretty hard to describe how bad it’s been (although, not quite on the same scale as Somerset in England). I visit Coole Park in Co. Galway quite regularly, and over the past two months more and more of it has disappeared under water. At this point I would guess it’s at least two-thirds flooded. When I last visited it was after the dreadful passage of Storm Darwin, and the place was a mess. One of the car parks was flooded and inaccessible. Huge trees were toppled over, exposing massive rootballs. The buzz of…

  • Galway

    picture palace

    Here’s a photo I took on Saturday in Galway of the newly-constructed Picture Palace in the city centre. It’s a three-screen art cinema, that will also have a café, bar, film/art book and dvd shop, and an online film archive facility. This has been a long, much-anticipated project, and is the perfect fit for a bohemian city that has a university and a technical institute that both teach a variety of film courses. Of course, as a film buff I’m delighted at the prospect of getting a better variety of screenings of foreign and indie films in Galway. I don’t know when the cinema will open this year, but I…

  • Galway,  photographs,  Thoughts

    control, an illusion

    Life is unpredictable. Just when you think you’ve got a grip on how to endure its fickle moods it decides to remind you what a beast it can be. Often, it just has to gesture to Nature to pull up alongside you in its blundering tank, and direct it right across your path. This rather picturesque scene is not a lake, but one of the main access roads to my house – thoroughly flooded. A code red storm tore through Ireland just after Christmas, and dumped a tremendous amount of rain upon already saturated land. Nature, being its usual contrary self, then offered up a little temporary sunshine and preened…

  • Galway,  nature,  photographs

    winged beauties

    Summer is in full bloom, and on my daily walks – irrespective of the weather – the leaves and shrubs are bursting with life. One afternoon I was escorted through the woods by a constant display of Cabbage White butterflies engaged in aerial manoeuvres. They’re very hard to catch on camera, as they have a jagged, jerky movement that’s a little unpredictable. The difficulty with catching them at rest is their wings are folded up so their patterns are hidden. But at least you get to see their grey ruff. It was quite delightful to have this procession of butterflies guard my path. The very next day the butterfly escort…

  • Galway,  photographs,  Thoughts

    forest moods

    I walk in the woods and forests in my area regularly. I’m always struck by the different atmosphere in them depending on the weather, the season, and the varieties of trees. They also contain pockets of strangeness. All is friendly and light at first, and suddenly you walk into a watchful area, where footfalls are muffled, and you hold your breath a little. Then there are the parts which radiate a magical luminescence and anything could happen – anything could step from behind that tree. This is why so many fantasy stories and fairy tales are set in woodlands. People can disappear in them. Time stretches under their canopy of…

  • Galway,  photographs

    a new camera

    I got a little extra money recently so I decided to splash out on a new compact camera on Saturday. I purchased a Canon Ixus 510 HS. It’s small, glossy black, and has a touchscreen, so it’s been fun to try it out. This was my first photo. A close up of the action figure Trinity from The Matrix movie. I liked the shadows cast on the wall from her guns. Holding the figure in one hand and taking the phone one-handed wasn’t ideal, but she looks pretty badass. I caught this pair of swans from behind cover in Galway city yesterday. They were meandering around the canal, enjoying the…

  • food,  Galway

    eat your veggies

    I’ve been a vegetarian now for about sixteen years, and for many of them I’ve not been a fan of salads. That’s because what constitutes a salad in a restaurant used to be browning iceberg lettuce (flavourless), chunks of raw onion (not a fan), tomato, and if you were lucky, cucumber. Yet, recently I’ve been converted to the joys of a good salad. Here’s small side-salad I made for myself today. What would have made it more excellent was avocado, which I adore, but it wasn’t ripe enough. I was too lazy to scrape a carrot for shavings, which would also have been nice. I love carrots. I think I…

  • Galway,  photographs,  Thoughts

    Saturday in Galway

    I’m usually in Galway city on a Saturday morning, where I visit the main Galway Market by St. Nicholas’ Church, and pick up food and veg. On my way down Shop Street this weekend I spotted this cheerful chap with an impressive beard, and his troop of dancing flowers which he keep in good spirits with his lively fiddle playing (and the pedal that jigged them about). It’s one of the things I love about Galway city, there is always someone new turning up to entertain the passersby. When the days are dour and wet it’s especially welcome, and we get a lot of inclement weather (but not currently). I…