Gougane Barra is surely the most calming, spiritually fulfilling location in all of Ireland for Karen and me. A couple of years ago I painted the haunting moss-covered trees of the nearby Gougane Barra National Forest. Now I'm back.
"Reflecting on Gougane Lake" is a depiction of the shoreline one morning after two days of steady rain. The lake had risen high enough that the water partially covered the lowest hanging branches of the willow tree behind the ruins of St. Finbar's monestary.
The day was clear, the water eerily still, and it was hard to distinguish between what was real and what was reflection. One clue: a small floating swan feather drifted slowly... on the water... on the sky? :-)
Another souvenir of Gougane Barra, this old painted rowboat is tied up to the lake shore and is available to the guests of the charming Gougane Barra Hotel. Although it probably never belonged to St. Finbar, whose monestary was located here about fourteen hundred years ago, it would truly be a spiritual journey to row it around this gorgeous lake. Although we didn't take it out for a row, I sure wanted to take its image with me when we reluctantly drove away.
If you're ever in the southern half of Ireland, do yourself a favor and visit Gougane Barra, in the mountains of Cork east of Kenmare, at the head waters of the sacred River Lee.