This trip was made Sep 2017 but I forgot to load account onto Blog.
During the year I had researched some craft courses that are available around the country. Because of my interest in textile arts and in island communities the following notice captured my attention immediately:
Hand weaving and spinning courses in Beth Moran’s Ballytoughey Looms, on Clare Island 2017.
A weekend Sept 2nd – 4th course covering the basics of spinning, weaving and natural dying. As always the course will be tailored to suit the individual or group needs in term of focus and content. The course runs from 10A.M. to 4:30 P.M. first two days and finishes at lunchtime on the third day. Cost is €240 including materials and lunch.
A comprehensive list of accommodation was provided but as I worked my way through the list, I discovered that a Film Festival was also occurring that weekend so there was almost “no room at the inn”. Luckily Oliver and Marie Agnes O’Malley had one room left in their Cois Abhain B&B. They recommended Taxi (and bike) hire from Briget O’Leary but also promised lifts to and from the course in association with Beth.
Bookings were made and I hit off to Roonagh Pier for my first solo island experience! I made sure that all Dublin memorabilia was hidden as I hit into the land of the Red and Green. Naturally I did a spot of shopping in Westport when I stopped for lunch but I still made the 5 o’clock ferry. Lovely clear and calm crossing.
Brigid’s (taxi) daughter took me to the Sailor’s Bar. Luckily I had booked for every evening as it was the only place to eat and it was booked out by the film crowd!!! Nice dinner, bottle of wine and chat with locals and then, as promised, Oliver collected me. Naturally the B&B I had booked was the other side of the island but as walking was not on the agenda, it mattered little.
As it turned out there were only two weaving students for the course and both of us were staying in Cois Abhainn. So after breakfast each morning, Oliver brought us as far as the church where Beth was waiting for the rest of the trip to the Looms.
We got down to work immediately – I decided to make a linen table runner, and following choosing of yarn texture and colour, was assigned to my loom. there was some discussion on warp and weft but most of the instruction was incidental and while the skill aspect was important, there was great emphasis on creativity! The days flew: weaving and the catering was excellent as was the company and while the emphasis was firmly on the process it was great to have a finished product before returning home.
We also got a chance, one of the afternoons to attend the Film Festival – some short films- and be photos for their web page!!!
I stayed a day extra and did a tour of the island with Brigid’s daughter – she had some great history tales as well stories of current life on the island.
Rough crossing the next morning – but good to experience – some sight seeing on the way home – Croagh Patrick and the Famine exhibition.
Stopped in Westport again and purchased “a French lady’s book case” and in Longford where I spotted a book “Dánta na Céide” which featured one of Sr Fintan’s poems.