18 August 2011

Eolaí and his Painting Tour: Week Seven

Last Thursday, as you'll surely remember, the Brother brought his sixth week on the road to an end, clocking up a mighty ninety kilometres in the saddle as he pedalled his way into Galway, his thirteenth county.

Friday saw him waking in Ballinderreen, squinting at the screen with morning eyes in a house impressively garnished with his paintings, one of which is one of my favourites. The highlight of the day must surely have been a most peculiarly Celtic episode, with eight cattle running down in a street into a garden, only to be driven off by a small boy, wielding a hurl and accompanied by a dog. If that doesn't get you thinking about Cuchullain, well, your imagination's clearly not as prone as mine to flights of legendary whimsy. Appropriately enough, given the profoundly Irish nature of  Friday's highlight, as a guest-gift for his hosts he gave them a painting of the Poll na mBrón dolmen in County Clare.

He downed tools at half eight on Friday evening, and by ten he was in Galway City, there to stay with a man who advised him to bring lots of grey paint as it was hammering down. Galway had always been envisaged as the halfway point in the Brother's travels, where he'd take stock and make new plans; given time pressures and the need to get back to base in time for the Lucan Festival in a month or so's time, it's already starting to look as though Laois and Offaly may have to be forsaken; I guess we'll see, though.

Meanwhile on Twitter, others began to plot what they'd do on his return to Dublin, with a swift consensus being reached of a night in the Gravedigger's pub by Glasnevin Cemetery, though that conversation soon spiralled off into tales of Parnell being buried above a cholera pit, of Gravedigger's regulars gathering  on Brendan Behan's birthday to toast him with pints at his grave, and of Behan himself having come from a family of painters less artistic than the Brother.

Saturday was given over to painting the city from above, with Long Grass serving as his table, as ever.

Sunday in Galway City looked nice, thought the Brother: suspiciously so. Indeed, others soon warned him that Met Éireann had already been darkly hinting at ominous sounding 'weather from the west'. Still, he painted and pondered and cycled by the Corrib, and even gave some thought to going to bed early, having spent the previous four nights scorning sleep as best he could.

Monday saw Twitter reports of the Brother's doppelganger being spotted wielding a banjo and disembarking from a Chinese bus; or was it him? It was, he said: he'd a side gig where he engaged in sudden global travel to spook people by appearing and playing that music from Deliverance. Off he went to the Claddagh to try to paint in the rain, but to no avail; up with the paint but the rains came down and washed it away. And no, it wasn't anywhere near as delicate an operation as in the Flake advert -- down the rain hammered, washing the paint right off the canvas, through the hairs on the Brother's leg, and away. The end result, to be fair, wasn't without its unintentional charms, but still, the Brother took shelter, and spent the evening happily curled up on a dry couch.

Yes, I know I should be able to see beyond the Giraffe, but after that story, I just can't!
Tuesday was a day for walking, and for painting, and for making a second sally at the painting his previous day's inclement conditions had so thoroughly thwarted. I like this painting of the Long Walk as seen from the Claddagh, and though it's the sky that entrances me most, I can't help but smile at the giraffe down the end. 

Yesterday, then, saw him leaving Galway city, admiring the views as he went, and pedalling out past where TG4's based in Ballinahown, into Connemara. Long a lover of Connemara -- it was in Rosmuc that the Brother went to Irish college back in his summer holidays when I was but a whelp -- his plan was to make it past Pearse's cottage and then stop overnight in whatever random B&B he found. In the end, having cycled what our dad would call 70 kilometres -- that's 43 miles in old money -- he had to settle for the second B&B he tried, the first one having turned him away. Still, in the end there was tea to be drank and a shower to be indulged in, and all was well.

You should be following the links, btw. They take you to better pictures than this, and in colour too.

And today? Well, today must have been a great one, with him cycling out beyond Clifden on what he's saying is a candidate for his greatest day ever on a bicycle. Given the roads he's ridden and the sights he's seen, that's saying a lot, but I have no idea quite what's made this day so special, other than his views at breakfast, and his lakeside painting somewhere. It seems the route took him from Kylesalia to Loughaconeera and back, and then onward through Kilkernin, Carna, Glinsk, Cashel, and beyond Clifden on the Sky Road, heading out to Eyrephort. I've been doing image searches online to see what he might have seen, and have been bursting with envy, but that's just a stop-gap. I look forward to seeing what he saw, rendered in pixels and especially in pigments.

If you're new to this story, or even if you're not, it's well worth reading today's piece about the Brother on New Tech Post. He explains a lot about his relationship with Twitter, and how it has driven the tour, and about how wonderfully welcoming the Irish Twitterati have been:
'It’s great fun as a concept in a pub. There are times when my knees don’t think it’s that much fun. The overly-ambitious aim is thirty-two counties. That might not happen. If it doesn’t, fine. I’ll have met loads of people and painted lots of pictures and cycled around. 
The people of Twitter have been fantastic. From being taken for a drive to buy supplies, to giving me things, to packing me lunches, people have gone way, way above and beyond, it’s been fantastic.'
You should read the whole thing, and then follow the Painting Tour on the Brother's blog and especially on Twitter, where the hashtag's #paintingtour. His Facebook account's worth a shout too, but the real fun's on Twitter. As I've said a few times now, I wouldn't bother following him on Google Latitude, though, given its habit of placing him at seemingly random locations in the past. And perhaps most importantly, if you think there's any chance at all he might be passing within twenty miles or so of where you live, and if you have a bed to offer and fancy a painting, and especially if you're in one of the spots he currently doesn't have a host, you should let him know. 

Just send a message to Ireland's first digital nomad™. This is why it's called social networking.


Grannymar said...

I've ordered the Barry's tea, I know where to get the Tiger bread, Broadband being updated next week and a bed is well aired if Ireland's first digital nomad™ feels like sleeping!

I'll feed him properly, and drive him wherever he wants to go. (I'm on the map)

The Thirsty Gargoyle said...

It sounds as though you'll be supremely well-equipped once the brother arrives... will be you be waiting long for him?