Getting Acquainted With The Burren

Before I begin, let me apologize for being a day behind on our blogs. It seems that internet connections from the Burren are more quirky than I remember. You have to turn three times clockwise, face east and then say your mother’s maiden name four times to guarantee a solid connection!

On Monday, June 15th, we spent most of the day on a bus tour of the Burren area of County Clare. The Burren is a very unique geological area of Ireland. The rock, formed in beautiful and unusual patterns is a very porous limestone where tropical and alpine plants exist together. We have been told that seeds came with the glaciers from many locations during the ice age, where those plants continue to thrive today.
The purpose of this tour was to provide students with a comprehensive visual experience accompanied by information about the history and culture of the area. This information is very important to help students integrate this new knowledge with the development of a visual concept that will serve as the point of departure for their work.
The tour consisted of visiting the following places: two ring forts, Poulnabrun ( a 6000 year old burial site), Kilfenora’s Celtic crosses, Ennistimon (food shopping) Bridget’s Well, the Cliffs of Moher, Black Head, and then home to Ballyvaughan. It is customary for a group picture to be taken at the second ring fort. Please see below. Lots of smiling faces, great day, super weather.


Tuesday, June 16th:

I wish I could say that the weather has continued bright and sunny but it has not. The beautiful sun of Monday has turned to a gray day, (tuesday) with lots of wind and heavy fog. I guess to truly experience Ireland you have to take the good with the bad. It is easy to see where the term “Irish Mist” comes from. The weather really has not been problem as our schedule called for the setting up of studio spaces and basically preparing materials for the work ahead. Each student shares a studio space measuring approximately 20 X 20 feet with 20 foot ceilings with one other classmate. These spaces provide a professional environment in which to work.

The Café here is wonderful. Today’s special was curried cabbage soup and vegetable lasagna. The café is completely vegetarian offering a variety of soups, sandwiches and desserts. Students are able to run a tab so they don’t have to worry about carrying money.

The afternoon was spent in a four-hour session where each student was asked to provide the group with a basic description of the project they are designing for this course. Both Matthew and I were truly impressed with the depth and sensitivity and support expressed as each student described what they hope to accomplish. Changes will be made, ideas will morph into other ideas, but in the end the work will no doubt be successful and sensational. I think that everyone understands that expectations are high, the bar has been raised and that excellence is worthy of pursuit.

As time passes this blog will contain more and more images. We are sort of in the catch up mode right now because of the technical delay in getting this out to you. We have students sending us pictures electronically that will be included in this blog. Much more to come tomorrow!