An inspiring visit to Sceilig Mhicil: I was lucky to get out to Sceilig Mhicil 2 weeks ago - it is an ancient monastic site off the coast of Kerry that was settled by monks in 600AD untill 1100AD. It's incredible to know that these monks lived here - out in the middle of the Atlantic ocean on a sea crag- no fresh water -. (they built their own system to collect rainwater). The beehive huts they built are still standing as well as the ancient steps. These steps take you all the way to the monastery at the top. I can only imagine what peace and quiet they must have experienced here (it's difficult to sense it at the monastery as it can get a bit crowded at times). George Bernard Shaw, following a visit in 1910, described this ‘incredible, impossible, mad place’ as ‘part of our dream world’.
Boats take you out to the sceilig from Portmagee and it takes about 45 minutes each way - you get to spend 2 hours there. On the way out you pass by little sceilig which is the breeding ground for gannets - an incredible site to see! Sceilig mhicil itself is a important breeding ground for puffins, kittiwakes and other sea- birds - you see the kittiwakes balancing right on the edge of the cliffs with their chick and the puffins are everywhere as you walk up to the top of sceilig.....anyway, definitely inspiring and worthwhile and im so glad i finally got to go. Its a good idea to book well in advance as the boats book up pretty fast - and that doesnt always guarantee that you will get to go out on the day - it's all weather dependant - we went out with a guy called jo danagher- there are lots of different boats to go out if you google it.
(All photos copyright Nicky Hoefsloot)
"Follow Your Heart"
Original (SOLD) pen and ink 7" x 5" /18 x 13 cm
When we allow ourselves to listen to the wisdom of our hearts
we begin to follow our own inner nature.
Sometimes this wisdom doesn’t make much sense
and may appear irrational and illogical.
But if we are brave and courageous enough
and begin to trust these decisions made from the heart
we will soon see that we are never led astray.
Available as a limited edition print online
I visited Elfia for a second time in April. This time it was held in the beautiful grounds of Castle "de Haar". It was inspiring, magical and otherworldly. You can see for yourself from the video below! The majority of people attending the festival make their own costumes and it was just wonderful to be surrounded by so much creativity. I had some of my work available at the Golden Age of Fairy Art Stall, hopefully I will get to exhibit with this group of fairy artists again in the future :)
I'm back at the Cow's lane designer market every Saturday - this is my third year here and you can find my stall just outside the Queen of Tarts cafe. I have my whole range of prints available at the stall every week. I also bring some framed prints aswell - so if you are passing by and you would like to stop and browse through my latest work, please do, or you might be looking for a beautiful gift for someone, something different.....so come and have a look, you never know what you may find in this fairy world that I create!
This is my latest pen and ink drawing - 74 x 48 cm (29 x 19") and so far I have been thinking about calling it "follow your heart". I'm just at the stage where I am adding layers of ink, enjoying the colour combinations.... I hope to be finished soon. It started as a drawing outdoors (I always prefer to draw outside, the light is so much better and there is no ceiling!) but I had to finish the drawing in the studio as it got too cold. You can see some of the details below.
A nice mention in the Irish Times online section after I took part in the RDS National craft & Design Fair :)
On a recent visit to Sligo I visited Lough Gill, Ben Bulben, and Knocknarea. Lough Gill is where Yeat's was inspired to write "The Lake Isle of Inisfree". It is absolutely stunning here, so peaceful beside the lake, little streams are flowing through the forest everywhere and everything seems to be covered in moss! It's really magical. Knocknarea is where Queen Maeve is said to be buried. It is a steep enough walk up Knocknarea to Maeve's cairn but the view is fantastic. It was really wild and the wind was howling when we got to the top and too windy to hold the camera steady so I used photos from when i was at Knocknarea the last time. A few days later I found out that there was a sculpture of Queen Maeve in Dublin. It's just outside Connacht House on Burlington road created by artist Patrick O'Reilly. She looks fierce but it's such a pity that it's not in a place more visible to the general public.