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Archive for March, 2012

Outrage on Achill

27/03/2012 Comments off

Outrage on Achill.

Delighted to get this review of The Veiled Woman of Achill by Aine Ryan in the Mayo News:

 The Veiled Woman of Achill
  

Rain that is Absolute, Maginificent and Frightening: Heinrich Boll’s Ireland

19/03/2012 Comments off

Heinrich Boll in Ireland | Melville House Books.

Melville House included Heinrich Boll’s Irish Journal in their book bundle for Saint Patrick’s Day. Boll’s book includes a wonderful sentence about Irish rain: ‘The rain here is absolute, magnificent, and frightening. To call this rain bad weather is as inappropriate as to call scorching sunshine fine weather.’

Irish Journal covers many places, including my current home place in Limerick where Boll described the Shannon rushing along under old bridges: ‘this river was too big, too wide, too wild for this gloomy little town’. Along with the river Shannon, the image of the ‘snow white milk bottle’ throughout the city lingered with Boll after he left Limerick.

But it was in Achill that Heinrich Boll would make his Irish home in 1950s Ireland, in a cottage not far from the Deserted Village where he once visited for five hours and where ‘in ossified hedges fuchsia hung blood-red blossoms’. He was mesmerised by the ‘skeleton of a village’ that seemed to him like a body without hair, eyes, or flesh or blood.

Walk in Paul Henry’s Achill Footsteps

01/03/2012 Comments off

You can walk in the footsteps of the artist Paul Henry, following the shoreline from Dooagh to Keel, as part of the May bank-holiday Achill Walks Festival. There are a half-dozen walks, some on the island, some on the north-west Mayo mainland in Ballycroy National Park and the Nephin mountain range.

A century ago Paul Henry and his wife Grace first came to Achill on a Midland Great Western Railway train and stayed on and off for a decade. The area between Kell and Dooagh, taking in Pollagh and Gubelennaun, was the focal point for much of Henry’s painting. The Achill walk will include the bog road made famous by Henry in one of his Achill landscapes.

Henry’s autobiography, An Irish Portrait (1951) is mainly about his experiences on Achill Island and his artist’s desire ‘to express a life that has never been expressed’.

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