This summer I had no plan and no time to make one so I decided to join an organized trip to Ireland. I’m not very fond of these kind of trips, but this one sounded pretty good: the plan was to “talk & walk” guided by an English teacher and a nature guide in the county of Donegal. Exactly what I needed, nothing stressful and I could practice my English.
The thing is, when I said I was an urban sketcher... instead of the typical “urbanwhat?” I got a great “me too!!” In fact there were four of us in the group!
So starting in Dublin we went up to Donegal. We were lodged in Downings Bay and every day we followed the noses of our guides to avoid the rain and stretch our legs through wonderful trails!
Our Air Lingus airplane to Dublin ...
Just landed, we go directly to the Guinness factory... a must-visit in Dublin.
It's a very touristy place. We almost felt like cattle among the malted barley, fermentation and hops... until we reached the last and upper floor. There you can enjoy a pint with Dublin at your feet — that's nice.
|The Long room - Trinity College - Dublin|
Kilometers and kilometers of shelves, full of ancient books. this is the Long room. These books are classified in a peculiar way, the bigger ones are on the lowest shelves and the smaller ones at the upper. The reason: gravity. This way you minimize the risk of accidents if a book is dropped down.
|Botanic Garden - Dublin|
The Botanic Garden in Dublin is free and it's amazing, the greenhouses are made by the same architect who designed the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London. It's a must-go place, especially on a blue sky day like today!
|Downings Hotel by night, Donegal|
Next stop was Downings Bay in County Donegal and Karaoke night at the Downings Bay Hotel — here the worst singer is a Sinatra! What talent!
Walking along Ards Heritage Trail. Sean (our guide) recites Robert Frost: "The road not taken".
|The Ards Heritage Trail|
The sky is a poem. Sun, wind, sand blowing, rain, sun again, more wind... clouds pass by very fast and even a rainbow comes to visit us just to go away and let all the cycle start again: sun, wind, rain...
|Downings Bay in front of the hotel (low tide)|
Between Guinness and more Guinness we learn Molly Malone song.
...here we never miss live music!
|Glenveagh National Park castle|
The history of this castle goes back to the 19th century, but among all the heritage and land speculations we were told that Greta Garbo swam in this very pool beside the lake. Ain't that cool?
|A lonely boat at Downings Pier|
Sean told us that there was a time when you could go from the pier to the other side of the bay without touching the water, jumping from boat to boat. It was during the golden ages of the fishing industry.
|Guinness, whisky, cider, music and dancing... 100% Irish|
The Fanad lighthouse was the last Irish light seen by those leaving Ireland in search of fortune; they say that if you see a boat from here you must wave goodbye because there is surely an Irishman inside saying goodbye to his land and telling himself "one day I'll see the light" wishing to come back.
There are no boats today. But we can see Malin head, the most northern point of Ireland.
Today it's raining more than usual so we practice indoor sketching, first in a museum and after in a pub detailing some sea treasures.
And that's all folks!! Vacations are great, but short. The best feature of the trip: the warm welcoming and kindness of Irish people.
Cristina Curto is an illustrator based in Barcelona (Spain). She is a member of Urban Sketchers Spain. Visit her blog here or visit www.cristinacurto.cat to see more of her work.