In conjunction with Amy Bogard (www.amybogard.com) Irish Blessings Tours is pleased to announce our collaboration in creating an Irish Sketch Tour. Based on Amy’s Sketchbook and Journal workshops back in Cincinnati, Ohio we are now going to take the concept on the road to Ireland.
Dates are still to be confirmed but we have penciled in the last weeks of September/early October for the tour in 2013.
Want to know a bit more about the concept?
Well, check out Amy’s blog to see what she has done on her tours to the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico. And read how my own love of poetry, and haiku in particular, lends itself to experiencing Ireland on tour.
Smouldering Lough Talt
Hemmed in by the hills
Cloud above the cauldron
In August 2011 I guided Amy and her friends around my part of the world – West Cavan in Ireland – a landscape of myth, megalith and sacred power places. It turns out that Amy leads groups who journal their trips through art. While I am a deep devotee of art, that gene passed me by. I did, however, get the writing gene and while Amy wields her drawing pencil, I journal trips by writing haiku.
Haiku is a Japanese poetry form, deceptively simple and fiendishly difficult (but fun!) if you play by the classical rules. It is simply three lines composed of no more than seventeen syllables. The classic format is lines of 5,7,5 syllables but these days we tend to play it a bit looser since we are not writing in Japanese after all. There is generally a ‘seasonal’ word that tells the reader the time of year for the scene. It also is alive to the natural world, which then can stand for the universal, even Zen, truth. Unlike English poems we don’t use simile and the metaphors are very oblique. What you aim to do is to capture a moment in time and share the feeling/seeing/hearing/sensing with the reader. Using the seasons as a leitmotif the little poem aims to capture mood, moment and image.
A cow’s anguished moo
A calf taken from its mother
I generally have a small notebook in my handbag and haiku is a convenient way of jotting down what I am experiencing. I’ve been a professional foreigner for more than thirty years. I left the USA in 1980 and lived in England, where I met my Irish partner, for twenty years. We moved to Ireland in 2001. We live deep in the country on an acre where we garden organically. For someone who loves nature and needs solitude and quiet it is like heaven. Only better, because I’m alive to enjoy it.
Through poetry I not only met my partner, I also made other friends. One of those poetry buddies suggested to a group of American women that they let me organise a tour for them over the Festival of Brigit, who also happens to be the matron goddess/saint of poetry.
So poetry gave me my new vocation as tour guide and creatrix of tours for people who want to immerse themselves in an authentic Ireland. This Ireland is not always furnished with an interpretative centre but allows the visitor to draw their own conclusions. It does allow the visitor to experience for themselves, take the pulse, to be inquisitive and meet people in their locality.
Open-hearted traveling yields many pleasant surprises.
It is a way of touring that lends itself to journalling through art and poetry, in particular that three lined haiku that can get swiftly jotted in the pocket size notebook. To travel should engage your heart as much as other senses. Jotting down a haiku you often capture that heart sense. It captures that moment just as a photograph. But the poem or drawing uses your hand, muscle, coordination – and they are connected to your heart.
The roaring cascade
Raw assertion over rock
Lichen bearded glen
Amy wants to bring contact me at email@example.com or Amy at www.amybogard.com to express interest in joining us on this tour. We will forward full details of the dates, itinerary, and costs later in 2012.
This is the final article in my A-Z of Things to See in Ireland series. And Z stands for getting your zzzzzzs! When touring Ireland sleep, rest and pacing yourself on tour is absolutely key to maximising your enjoyment of the sights, activities and people you meet. And if you decide to tour the Northwest of Ireland, with the purest air in Western Europe, be prepared for how unpolluted atmosphere work like knock out drops!
So pack your favourite PJs, some ear plugs, an eye shade and your favourite sleepy herbal remedy. Allow yourself a couple days to acclimatise to the new time zone. Allow yourself to see things at a leisurely pace. People watch. Get used to the new currency. Let your stomach curl with pleasure every time you hear an Irish accent and …EVERYONE is talking with an Irish accent! Gently ease yourself into a different culture. Pacing yourself while touring Ireland will pay off in maximising your pleasure over the days and weeks you spend with us.
For many North Americans a tour to Ireland may be a once in a lifetime trip and you want to pack in as much as possible over a fortnight or less. This is a mistake.
If you read this entire series you can see just about every item if your itinerary is planned with care. You don’t have to run rings around yourself trying to tour Ireland. By prioritising what you want to see you will begin to discover in this series that you can see many of things you want to see and do in Ireland are within a circular tour.