Art Club 'Lucks Out' on Inaugural Trip to Ireland
The Providence Art Club was well ahead of the well-publicized, new surge of American travelers flocking to Europe to relieve their pent-up demand to travel again. Our deliberately small group of a dozen visited Ireland’s western coast around Westport for more than a week in early May of 2022.
Here’s a sampling of stories and images from the trip to whet your appetite for future PAC trips.
Everyone in the Sprinter van perked up in anticipation as Ron Rosenstock unlocked a gate protecting the remains of an Irish castle. But the van then drove past the castle and down a narrow, rutted road. We’d already visited plenty of castles and old abbeys. Our destination this time was a small beach with colorful fishing boats and swans nestling in reeds. No way a regular tourist would have discovered such a picturesque spot. Out came the watercolor kits and cameras.
Such was the character of the Art Club’s inaugural venture into international travel.
“Thanks to Ron, the trip leader and Club member, we got a real taste of the Ireland—not just the pastoral countryside, but the history, the music, and yes, even the food,” commented Nick Miles, who organized the inaugural trip with Anne Carty through Strabo Tours.
"The trip was a wonderful opportunity to make new friends who were also PAC members,” added David Pinkham. “As a photographer, it was an introduction to a new landscape and a new color. In Ireland that color is green—the many shades of green." Amidst that green, however, were plenty of gray rocks that made up abandoned abbeys and grand country homes and countless stone walls—as well as brown cows and white sheep that peppered the pastures. All provided great fodder for photos and paintings.
The traveling troupe also…
Visited a weaver on remote Clare Island
She raises her own sheep, but told us that there’s no outside market for her wool. She ends up weaving what her sheep produce.
A photograph of some wool hanging along a barbed wire fence.
Credit: Nick Miles
Was struck by how pristine and well-kept Irish cottages are
...even if they’re next door to a roofless, abandoned structure.
A photograph of an Irish Cottage in the countryside.
Credit: Deming Sherman
Been surprised by the variety and quality of the food
On Clare Island, for example, we savored a tasty sorrel and nettle soup, followed by an organic salad harvested that morning from the small farm restaurant’s back yard.
A photograph of a cow trio from the farm.
Credit: Isabel Goff
Discovered a brand-new art school in Mulranny
...built for week-long retreats by two women who work principally in encaustic and mosaic.
A watercolor painting of the Irish countryside.
Credit: Anne Carty
found ourselves sharing space at the airport hotel before flying back to Boston with some 135 Ukrainian refuge women and children
...who for months had been awaiting resettlement in Ireland. Moved by their plight, we created to an impromptu support fund.
A photograph of a stone Cherub sculpture praying beside an old Christmas ornament.
Credit: Barbara Crane
Deming Sherman summarized the 9-day adventure this way: "This was a great trip with talented folks, good food, fair weather, and terrific photographic opportunities!”
Added Anne Carty, “Jill Tyler and I would pull out our watercolor paints and pens and try our best to capture what we were seeing before us. Our senses were assaulted with the sheer beauty of the place. It was also fun to experience all this with fellow Club members. We talk about the ‘art of camaraderie’ at the Club. Our friendships only deepened as we traveled and dined together each night. We’ve already held one reunion at the Club to reminisce and hope to have more—not something you’ll find with a typical tour group.”