Thursday, December 17, 2009

Awfully awful, part 3

I awoke before everyone else the next morning. It was early, but I couldn't stop thinking about this "cottage" we arrived at in the dark of night. Awful Offaly was in my head. We hadn't seen anything on our drive in. I couldn't contain my curiosity so I tiptoed to the bedroom window to peek behind the curtain. How interesting. Plantings, flowers, trees, could this be a garden? It was hard to tell; the window was at ground level and there were pots and plants everywhere. I went out into the grand room. Directly across from each other were two enormous glass doors where red flowered curtains were drawn. One one side I could see our car and many other stone buildings. Oh my, it reminded me of Perouge, France! Had I landed in a medieval paradise? The other side revealed walkways, stone stairs, cerulean blue iron filigreed gate and railing, large urn-like pots with white hydrengeas and directly facing me across the large lawn in formal fashion was a fantastic glass house! My body tingled with excitement. I didn't know what to think.

Everyone was sound asleep. I wanted to shout for joy! I wanted to share my excitement! I wanted to go outside and walk around! My nightgown seemed inappropriate, plus I couldn't open the door...

I went up to the loft where Ciaran was sleeping to look out that window. Why wasn't anyone waking up! How could they sleep with all this interesting stuff around us? The loft window was really a door. It opened out to a small deck which overlooked a very large garden. In the garden was the most interesting gazebo I've ever seen. It will no doubt be the subject of a future Susan Roux painting. The garden was filled with trees and plantings that it obstructed my view. I saw only parts of this expanse and I wanted to see more.

The property was magnificent. The garden, though mid-October was still splendid. We later found out at a distant pub that the owner, Angela Jupe, is the best master gardner Ireland has. Awful Offaly? It turns out that Offaly is Irelands best kept secret! It is old, medieval and very beautiful.

I asked Angela if she minded if I invited other artists to come paint with me in the garden. She was overjoyed. Turns out she had just purchased one of Mat Grogan's ( paintings six months prior. She was excited to meet him.

...and so this was how this wonderful little gem became the sight where I finally got to paint with Irish artists. The highlight of my trip!

As for the terrible accent, it seems the man from the pub who gave us directions had probably been in the pub awhile drinking a few too many Guinness's...

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