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Cill Rialaig Artist Residency 2024

I was so lucky this year to attend a two-week residency at the Cill Rialaig Artist Village in County Kerry. It's a pre-famine village of 7 cottages that have been restored as artist studios, to allow artists to get a few days or weeks away to work.

Cill Rilaig Artist Village in County Kerry, small cottages along the coast

However, it's not a relaxing retreat by any means. About an hour walk from the nearest shop (a petrol station), there's no wifi, and the only heating is by wood stove (which in January, meant it was absolutely Baltic and a good part of every day was just tending the fire.) The isolation can make you a little weird. The days were lovely, I saw dolphins from the coast, ring forts, and beautiful scenery. Then at night it would get oppressively dark, the cottage would creak and snap (even when it wasn't windy...), strange noises could be heard, and multiple people told me the place was haunted.  It was absolutely the loveliest and creepiest place I've ever been.

I completed 6 paintings during the stay, all which reflect some aspect of the surroundings; walks along the rock walls, a nearby field, the cottages at dusk and night, or candles reflecting light against the stone walls. One included a sheep skull which I found just outside the house (a normal thing to find in the country, totally not haunted).

Some paintings will be available for purchase in the coming months, others I may hang onto for future exhibitions. Overall I just want to express my gratitude to the Cill Rialaig Project for accepting me for the residency, I hope to come back some day, the experience will clearly influence my work in the future.

Looking out a cottage window towards the sea with a candle lantern on the windowsill



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