Ireland Sketches Part I


Here I am in my sketch/travel uniform! outside a favorite pub in Galway, Ireland where I was in pursuit (among other things) of traditional music and musicians to sketch! This was a couple days into a three week sojourn in Ireland and  England, constantly on the move with friends/fellow sketchers. The trip culminated in Manchester, England with the International Urban Sketchers Symposium.

Now that I’m home again and enjoying my big screen computer and consistent wifi I can reconstruct the trip by sharing my sketchbook, and hope to bring you along for the fun.


fountain pen and watercolor in Strathmore Mixed Media sketchbook, 5 1/2″X8″

The beginning. . .Aer Lingus, San Francisco to Dublin, non-stop.


Our hotel on the beach in Donabate,  a short train ride north of Dublin.


In the hotel dining room, over a restorative bowl of fish chowder with impressive chunks of salmon and mouth watering brown bread I launched into the first of many sketch studies of “typical Irish faces”. I was soon to discover that the Irish people lived up to their reputation for having the gift of gab.


On the train ride into Dublin we met Ann Marie, who took it upon herself to introduce us to her city on her way to work. We later learned that this kind of welcoming spirit was to be found throughout the country. One is treated almost like the long lost relative come home to visit (and perhaps I was!)

After our tour of Trinity College we wandered into the Old Stand pub for some lunch.


Wandering around the city we stopped to enjoy the street musicians, and later sat on a stoop by the river to sketch the Ha’Penny Bridge in a bit of drizzly rain. We were to learn that rain could and did materialize at any moment throughout most days.


Next stop was Galway, where there was rather a lot going on! An arts festival for one, with street performers on every corner. The banners celebrate Galway’s designation as 2020 European Capitol of Culture! We had come for a three day sketch workshop with teachers Marc Taro Holmes, Shari Blaukopf and Roisin Cure. You probably notice here that rain is either immanent or just occurred.


So I had to tackle not only the challenge of quick sketching of buildings with confusing perspective but the flat light of an overcast sky and outright downpour. No wonder this sketch looks as somber as an Edvard Munch painting! No sooner had I sketched it and started to add color than a cloudburst drove me to seek shelter so I could finish.


Another day the rain drove the class into the museum where I spent a lovely half hour sketching a ship which was hanging from the third story.


Another day I found shelter from the rain under the Spanish Arch where a minstrel was playing his tin whistle.


In the evening I pursued the search for authentic Irish music and the faces of the people, in pubs of course. My urban sketch friend Cathy and I had fun with this, but attracted a wee bit of attention. We were corrected by the gentleman in the picture who declared he was Swiss.


Some of our “Irish” subjects turned out to be another variety of European, or rather, we ran into the EU version of Ireland, which is multi-cultural. And then of course there was Cathy, who is Irish American, not to mention myself. . .


And then the sun came out as the class was sketching the (orange) sculpture in the Square, until that is, the rain washed away the watercolors before we could move.


. . .but not until we had watched a growing crowd enjoying the sunshine in the Square.


Stay tuned for more Galway sketches and beyond. . .



  1. So exciting to see your sketches and relive your trip with you….thanks for sharing and will look forward to the next installment!


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